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Ruth’s Story

It was first discovered that I had bilateral Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips (DDH) at the age of three. Apparently, I had a bit of a waddle and fell over a lot. My parents kept asking the Doctors and Health Visitors about me and were brushed off with it is just a cheeky waddle. Eventually my parents pushed for an x-ray and the Doctor agreed (probably just to keep them quiet). Anyway, that x-ray showed that I had two dislocated hips.

After that diagnosis I was referred to my local hospital who then referred my onto a more specialist hospital. I was in traction and then underwent numerous surgeries on my hips (mainly the right side as that was worse). I ended up missing quite a bit of school between the ages of 3 and 8. I then had a break from surgery till I was 18 and then had an osteotomy on my hip, to try and make it last as long as possible before needing a hip replacement.

At 28 I had my first hip replacement as I was in so much pain and it felt like it was taking over my life. I had my doubts as I was losing a part of me that I would never be able to get back, and could this restrict any future options? But I went for it and became bionic, and I haven’t regretted that decision once.

Nine years to the day I had my right hip replaced I gave birth to my daughter. On the day of her birth they diagnosed her as having both hips dislocated and I was gutted. My head was saying this is good they picked it up straight away, but I just didn’t want it for her. I had known that if I had a little girl the odds were stacked against her, as my cousin and young niece are in the ‘hip club’ as well.

I stayed in the hospital overnight so that we got to see the orthopaedic consultant as an in-patient, where he informed me that only one was dislocated and but the other cup was very shallow as well. Apparently ‘it was the worst case he had ever seen’ – not what you want to hear about your baby one day after she is born. I decided to take my daughter to see my consultant, to be fair I had decided on that even before that comment.

Straight away she was in double nappies as she was too small to go into a pavlik harness, then at five weeks she went into her harness. How I missed my little cuddles without feeling the harness. At the two week check I was informed it was working and the dislocated hip was now in socket. At that moment I realised that this Pavlik harness was worth it. Once the hips were stable she was allowed out of the harness for upto an hour a day for a bath. I made the most of that time to get in lots of cuddles. After six months she came out of the harness for good and now has better than average hips. I still find it strange to think that if you x-rayed her hips now you would never know- amazing.

As I write this I realise that it is my left hips birthday in 2 days’ time. Obviously having hip replacement surgery with a 3 year old raised new challenges for me. I tried to prepare her for me being in hospital for a few days and when I came home I would be on crutches with limited movement. When she first saw the crutches she was unsure of them but once she had named them we were off. She was fascinated by my scar, which I let her see once all the staples had been removed and it didn’t look too bad. Apparently, she kept the staff at her nursery informed about the cut on Mummy’s bottom (luckily I had informed them before the surgery that I would be having a hip replacement!). Luckily, I had fantastic support from family and friends which made all the difference.

I am just so glad that my daughter’s hips were discovered so young and that the Harness worked. She is now at school and is as active as can be, she even had her first ballet competition a few weeks ago. At some point I will need to fully explain about our hips for if she has children but that can wait for now.