For many of us, life at first seems to unfold without presenting any problems beyond our own ability to handle or to solve them. But then comes that moment in life when we suddenly realize how vulnerable we really are…
Beginning at seven days old, Genevieve was double casted with full foot and leg casts that were changed each week for six weeks. At every casting appointment, Dr. Eckrich or his PA Heather Rice would remove the casts and stretch and massage Genevieve’s foot for a few minutes. This was the worst part of the appointment because the stretching was uncomfortable for her. Next, her foot was stretched into a new position and held in that position while a new cast was applied.
Certain casting appointments were more difficult that others, but both Dr. Eckrich and Heather did an excellent job making my husband and I feel that they cared about Genevieve and wanted the best for her. They always took time to answer questions and did their best to be sensitive to both Genevieve and me at those casting appointments that were a little extra difficult. We are so grateful for Dr. Eckrich, Heather, and all of the staff at Black Hills Orthopedic and Spine center who were so wonderful to us as we walked through this process.
At seven weeks old, she had Achilles release surgery. Watching the nurses take Genevieve away was so hard but we knew, just like every other step of the process, that this step had to happen if we wanted Genevieve to be able to walk. After surgery, Dr. Eckrich met with us and assured us that everything went well. It was at this point that we finally felt like we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
After surgery we had six more weeks of casts and these casts were kept on for three weeks at a time. At 13 weeks old, Genevieve had her final set of casts removed. This was a wonderful day. With here casts off, she could finally have regular baths and wear anything! When she was in casts, she only really wore onesies and leg warmers, which covered the casts and kept diaper overflows out. Her cast free closet was full of adorable clothes! I know it seems frivolous, but it was SO exciting to get to finally get to dress my baby girl up in everything pink and cute! The day after casts were removed, we picked up her new little brace. This brace consisted of little pink boots and a bar in the middle that connected them. The purpose of the brace was to keep her Achilles stretched so her feet would not turn in again. Genevieve wore this brace 24/7 for three months. When we completed the three months of brace wear, we got to reduce brace time to nighttime and naptime, which will continue until she is two years old.
Genevieve started to crawl almost immediately after 23/7 brace wearing was complete (around six and a half months). At nine months old, I walked into the living room to find that Genevieve had pulled herself up and was standing next to a piece of furniture. Seeing her standing there took my breath away for a second. It was as if I finally could see a normal future for her. I knew she would walk. Since that first day standing, Genevieve is walking with a push walker and walking between furniture. Nothing holds her back, and she needs to be mobile if she is going to keep up with her big brother!