Birth Story: ‘My baby was born with hip dysplasia’

Posted in Birth Stories.

Danielle smiles with her baby after giving birth via C-section

As an endo warrior, Danielle always knew her journey to parenthood would be a difficult one. But even with severe endometriosis, Danielle is proof that natural conception is still possible. The Spring 2023 Due Date Group Grapeviner Mum recently shared her inspiring birth story after welcoming her daughter, Olivia Grace, into the world.

“I have stage 4 endometriosis with a history of five laparoscopies and therefore I froze my eggs in 2020. We had a miscarriage in September 2022 and had been trying to spontaneously fall pregnant for a year before we conceived our little rainbow baby Olivia.

“I had a rather difficult pregnancy. When I was 5 weeks pregnant, I started suffering severe abdominal pain and light bleeding. After having had a miscarriage 4 months before, it was quite disheartening. Following a trip to the emergency room, it was found that I had a large ovarian cyst that was ‘pressing’ against and competing for space with my growing womb. Whilst this resolved with time, it resulted in several emergency trips to the hospital and a change in specialists which was quite unsettling.

“I then developed Hyperemesis Gravidarum and spent the rest of my pregnancy quite unwell. I lost 8kg at the beginning of my pregnancy and spent some time in the hospital on IV fluids and antiemetics (to prevent nausea). I then spent the rest of my pregnancy layering different medications to be able to function in my high-demand career.

“Later in my pregnancy, I suffered severe swelling and damaged ligaments.”

Pregnancy photoshoot Danielle and her partner

‘My partner almost fainted’

As well as battling endometriosis, Danielle also suffers from chronic diverticulitis – which causes extreme abdominal pain – and has previously had Harrington Rods inserted in her spine to correct severe scoliosis (a curving of the spine). Unfortunately due to her complex medical history, she was told a vaginal birth would be too risky.

“Due to the Harrington Rod in my spine for the correction of scoliosis, I was required to have a caesarean.

“Throughout my pregnancy, I was told that it was extremely likely I would require a general anaesthetic as the titanium rod and spinal fusion were so low it was unlikely they would have a space available to insert the spinal anaesthesia. This meant that both my partner and I would miss the birth of our daughter, which we were devastated about.

“I had spoken to my specialists about wishing to try the spinal anaesthesia if possible and on the morning of our caesarean, the anaesthetist and his technician did an ultrasound and located a position in which they could attempt the spinal anaesthesia. It worked!

“Whilst I started to feel the effects of the anaesthesia, my partner took a turn and almost fainted. He was sweating and had turned pale. The nurses and technician rushed around getting him a chair and some water and then came good.

“Our caesarean went smoothly with no complications and at 7:32 am our beautiful daughter was born.

“Her birth could not have been any more magical and we couldn’t have been happier.”

Danielle and Connor in theatre waiting for the C-section

Baby is lifted up out of Danielle’s stomach

A close up of baby Olivia being born

Diagnosed with hip dysplasia

While their little girl looked perfect, it was discovered during her newborn examination that Olivia had bilateral hip dysplasia – a condition where the baby’s hip joints don’t develop properly.

“We were told she would need an ultrasound that day and a referral to a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon would occur.

“Olivia was put into a Pavlik Harness at 3 days old for the hip dysplasia which broke my heart, but she seems to be coping well.

“Babies who are breech or are twins are far more likely to have hip dysplasia due to their positioning in the womb, but Olivia was neither of these. It is hereditary but neither of our families have it running back through so the specialist isn’t quite sure why it happened. It just does sometimes I guess.

Olivia in her hip harness

Olivia at home in her harness

“She’s still in the harness 24/7 at this stage and will hopefully start weaning out next week (9 weeks old). For four weeks, you start with smaller periods per day out of the harness and increase each week and then after that 4 weeks you do another 6 weeks with her just wearing it when she’s sleeping.

“If all goes well and she’s hip healthy after that period, then she’ll just have an x-ray or ultrasound every 6 months until she’s 14 and then yearly until she’s 18.”

We can’t help but think Olivia looks extra cute in her harness, and wish her all the best in her journey ahead!

Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.

More birth stories from our Grapeviner mums…

About to (or just had) a baby?

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