Meet Lennie & Huxley
Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. A strong heartbeat. When a newborn is assessed by the medical team immediately after birth, these are the common things we know doctors check. But one routine assessment many parents may not know about is the examination of the baby’s hips to check the joints. There should be no sound, but if the doctor hears a click or clunk, it can signal that the baby has hip dysplasia caused by underdevelopment of the hip ball and socket joint – the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball of the upper thighbone, often resulting in hip dislocation.
“When I heard Huxley had a clicky hip, my heart sunk. I was terrified to have another hip journey,” says Brandy Lamb.
Brandy’s son, Huxley was born while her four-year-old daughter, Lennie was awaiting another surgery for her hip dysplasia.
About 1 to 2 in every 1,000 babies needs treatment for hip dysplasia, and often a soft brace is enough to correct the issue. Her daughter, Lennie went through all the common treatments, including a Pavlik harness (a suspender-like harness that holds the baby’s legs in a bent position to allow the ligaments to tighten) and then a closed reduction manipulation of the bones and spica cast (special body cast that keeps the hip joint and thigh bone in place). Unfortunately, neither procedure worked and Lennie required open reduction surgery to reposition the bones of her left hip, as well as a pelvic osteotomy, which adds a piece of bone to the socket so it can better cover the thigh bone. The recovery was hard on Lennie, as the active toddler was confined to a wheelchair for over six weeks.
Although no additional surgery is currently needed at this time, Lennie’s doctors have told Brandy that her daughter will likely need a hip replacement before the age of 30 as Lennie still has pain in her hips, particularly after a lot of physical activity, and a discrepancy in leg length.
“Lennie has very little range of motion on her left side. She absolutely can do the activities her friends do, but her leg does get very sore if she is on it too long. I mean, being a gymnast is likely out of the question, but that’s okay – she wants to be a doctor anyway,” says Brandy with a smile.
So when Brandy’s newborn son, Huxley was diagnosed with the same condition, Brandy knew there would be yet another difficult path ahead for the family. Before Huxley’s first birthday, he had a closed reduction manipulation and was put in a spica cast and Pavlik harness for over three months. These procedures did not correct the dislocation and, similar to his big sister, Huxley will need open reduction surgery. Brandy’s hope is that the next procedure will stabilize his hips and he won’t require any additional operations, but only time will tell. For now, the one-year-old is working on strengthening his legs as the closed reduction procedure and cast set back his large motor skill development.
As a single mom, Brandy is appreciative of her support system, including her mom, the generous community in the family’s hometown of Woodlands, and the children’s medical team, who have worked diligently to try to correct both children’s hip problems.
“The children’s hospital has been so amazing to my children and has been a second home to myself a few times,” says Brandy. “It means the world to have the medical support my children need. I feel so blessed to be in a country and province that they are able to receive the care they need from such amazing medical teams.”