We knew from early on that Evie would have a club foot. You could see it on the ultrasound. 12096606_10153708344111202_2808423062937201926_n We knew she would be healthy and that it wasn’t a big deal – but still it was terrifying, something we didn’t expect. We knew there would be something to correct the foot but we really didn’t know anything about it.

Then we scheduled an appointment with Dr. Gantsoudes at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia. He told us what to expect in the way of correction from best to worst case scenarios. He gave us all the information he could with Evie still growing in the womb. He would meet with us once she was born, assess the foot and from there he would have a course of action.

We saw the hard work ahead of us but were assuaged of most of our fears.

Then baby girl was born and we came face to face with her foot. 20160303_022231 Once the drugs wore off, and we were home alone with our sweet newborn panic set it. Was this something that could be so easily fixed? Would she crawl at the same time as the other kids? What about walking? Would she be made fun of because her right foot wasn’t like her left?

We schedule Evie’s first appointment with Dr. Gantsoudes. He examined her foot. He told us everything he’d spoken to us about previously. He assured us she would be just fine and the casting and braces would be nothing to her. She would have a right foot that worked and looked as close to her left foot as to make no nevermind.

And she received her first cast. It was bigger than she was, almost. 20160311_142626We didn’t handle her screaming so well but Dr. Gantsoudes was used to babies being upset as he helped them. He wasn’t at all upset when she peed on him. Or even when she peed on him a second time when we went back for her next cast. He stayed calm even as she had two casts slip off in the space of three days.

She didn’t progress as quickly as he had hoped. Her Achilles was tight and stubborn, not allowing the foot to move in the casts as quickly or as well as she should have been. So he cut her Achilles. Thankfully I was no in the room for that procedure! But Evie handled it like a pro – even when he had to recast the still healing foot only a week later.

When the casts slipped we got to see her foot and how it was progressing – so we could see that it was so much better than when she was first born.20160415_122704 We still worried, because we’re not doctors about how it would turn out. We wondered how it would effect her muscles having her entire leg in a cast. We lamented now getting to use foot pjs because the cast was just to big.

She was happy and growing faster than we could have imagined. Dr. Gantsoudes was happy with her progress everytime we went in, especially after her Achilles was cut. He was confidant that once we reached the next phase it would just keep getting better and better.

Then her casting was done and it was time for her to get fitted for her brace. She was given her first pair of suede shoes, complete with brace that would turn both of her feet outwards, but her right foot out the most. This brace was  a new awkward thing to deal with.

Her right foot was quite obviously smaller than her left. image-20160512_100950 It would slip out of the shoes. There was panic on our parts. Once again we didn’t know if we were hurting her. Were we pulling the straps tight enough? Or were they too tight? How do we help the friction blisters? The braces she wore for 23 hours a day, every day.

She had to sleep in it. She was awkward to carry. And then heavy. The brace was another pound added on to her constantly growing little body. Every time we saw Dr. Gantsoudes though he was happy with her progress and how good the foot looked. It was every better because now she would smile at him!

And just recently she graduated from full time brace wear to part time! 20160729_065812Now we get to see her little foot more – and she can wear footie pajamas! Dr. Gantsoudes  was so happy with her progress that we don’t have to see him for a whole year! Now that sounds like a good plan, but for so many months he was the one with all the knowledge and reminders that her foot is getting better and looks great. What will we do without that constant encouragement?

Give back. It’s time to return the karma back to Pediatric Specialists. They’re having a fundraiser which includes a 5K race and Health & Wellness Fair. I am running in the race and hope to encourage as many friends and family as possible to run with me. And if they can’t run I encourage them to donate . Let’s all give back to this wonderful non-profit that has not only greatly helped my little Evie, but will continue to help her as she grows and has also helped so many others!

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