Why? Why us? Why now? Why my baby?
How I start most of my thoughts when it comes to my sweet, Joy Belle’s feet.
Back in 2014, Justin and I learned that our first, baby girl would be born with bilateral clubfeet. We didn’t know what that meant, at all. We didn’t know what it was. We didn’t know what it meant for our girl. We didn’t know what it meant for our future. I struggled for a long while with “Why?” and accepting our new reality.
After meeting with several specialist (while Joy Belle was still in utero), we decided on a specialist in Atlanta that would handle treatment after she was born, along with any potential surgeries. To this day, I still have a peace that we made the right decision in choosing him. I believe that God placed him in our lives when we needed him.
Since our first consultation, we had a plan. From the day she was born, we had a plan. A plan that forecasted 6-8 weeks of serial casting, followed by approximately a year and a half of wearing corrective shoes with a bar. The plan was that her feet would be corrected and she would walk, run, and dance normally. My head and heart heard a year and half – a short period of time and life would be normal.
Nothing about that plan has been the plan. Not my plan anyway; but I suppose, His plan.
6-8 weeks of serial casting turned into 16 weeks of serial casting.
The potential surgery turned into an Achilles’ lengthening surgery at 5 months old, with two casts for 6 weeks. Followed by another Achilles’ lengthening surgery on her right foot, with 2 more weeks in casts.
She then moved into corrective shoes and a bar for months, that turned into a year. She also had physical therapy for 12+ months during this time.
When we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel, we learned that she would need a 3rd surgery – a tendon transfer. We thought it would only be on her right foot, until about 20 minutes before they took her back. She left the hospital in 2 casts.
Again, we thought it was the end of treatment and a fix to all of this. However, a couple of weeks ago, she had a routine checkup with her surgeon and her right foot isn’t progressing or improving like he’d hoped. The latest plan is to start physical therapy back up. We now expect her to be back in serial casting this winter. The bright side is it’s only her right foot. (And I won’t even begin to list the downside, in my opinion.) But if you’ve followed our journey long, you can probably imagine my heart and Joy Belle’s breaking at the news.
I’ve cried for days. (Granted, I’ve very hormonal at 32 weeks pregnant.) I’ve cried typing this entire post and reminiscing on all she’s been through. It took me days to talk about it with anyone. When I feel like I’ve trusted God with it all and stopped questioning “why?”, we’re thrown a curveball, and I fall right back into doubting and letting fear consume me. I’ve prayed a bazillion times for the Lord to hear my cries, Joy Belle’s cries and to remember our hearts’ desires. I’ve begged him to heal her. Oh what I would give to take away all of her pain and worry. Oh what I would give to take it on for her.
In her short little life, she’s endured 16 weeks of serial casting, 2 Achilles lengthening surgeries, 1 tendon transfer procedure, and a total of 38 casts on her little feet and possibly more to come. I don’t know “why” or have any answers, really. I just know that she’s proven herself to be strong and He’s proven himself to be faithful. With those two, I know we can get through the upcoming months.
But, I’ll never stop praying for His ultimate healing for my girl.
(Update: Since writing this post, and letting it sent in my drafts, I spoke to Taylor Mauldin (from this post). Just a week after we got our news, they recasted Cam because of regression too. He will also endure weeks of serial casting. When I ask why, I’m not given a clear answer – but I know one thing for sure, He has Taylor and I on this journey together. And without Joy Belle’s circumstances and God’s incredible plan, we may not have ever met our little Cam.)
You can read Joy Belle’s complete, clubfoot journey here.