From the Hills of WV to the Zoo in St. Louie

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Tobin and I went on our first road trip about a week or so ago now. It was to my Uncle Mike’s house in WV. I was having nightmares before we left that he screamed the whole way. I was getting a little terrified…one of mom’s clients sent a gift along. It was a sun that plays classical music and was chew toy ready. Tobin loved it. He did extremely well for the long drive there and home.

The trip to see my Uncle was bittersweet. My aunt recently passed away and we were there as some support for my uncle & cousin. The church where Nyla (my aunt) played the piano held a memorial service for her. It was a very nice and emotional service. Tobin & I missed the last bit, he was getting fussy we went downstairs.

My cousin John (13y) was incredibly sweet and gentle with Tobin. He said this was the closest he had ever really been to a baby and his first experience was a good one. Tobin was just as enamored with John.

Yesterday we spent in St. Louis. We finally had our appointment with the Shriner’s. We agreed to let them do some DNA testing, they are doing research to help find the gene that causes clubfoot. They took blood form all three of us and as detailed family medical history as we could give them. We did learn some interesting stats though: 1 in 1,000 babies will be born with a club foot, more boys are affected then girls, and the right foot is affected more then the left. We hope our DNA helps them along with the research.

Overall we had a very positive experience at the Shriner’s hospital. Tobin has new shoes and new braces on his feet. We learned that 1) the Denis Browne Splint (the bar) we were using was to short 2) his club foot wasn’t at enough of an angle. His new brace isn’t was I was expecting from Dr. Deppe’s description, but better then what Tobin had. This Dobbs Brace keeps his feet in the correct positions, but allows for his feet to move independently from one another. We don’t know yet if he will be able to crawl in them or not yet, we will just have to work on that.

The Good/Not-so-good news…Not-so-good, he has to wear the brace & shoes 23 hours out of the day. The one hour out is for bath times and stretching exercises on his foot and ankle. The good new…after three months of this he will be weened to wearing them only at nap times and bed time. That is like a 6m to a year earlier then we were expecting. We go back to the hospital in 3 months for a check up and the any adjustments.

We are adjusting yet again to the new braces and shoes. It always takes a few days to get in the groove of things. Here is a picture of what his brace looks like:

After all that, we took Tobin to the St. Louis Zoo. Three of his favorite things: people, outdoors, and animals. We were there about 3 hours and still had a lot to see.


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