When you’re pregnant, everyone would tell you to always think positive, no stress and people would often say enjoy your pregnancy. At the time I was pregnant with Lia, someone have told me that I will never be a good mother, my first endocrinologist’s side comment during my check-up was “kayo talagang mga kabataan ngayon ang aagang nabubuntis puro hindi pa mga kasal!” At which that time I didn’t really mind because she was nice naman every time I see her, there is also the stress of preparing for our wedding and another is my dad. Stress. All of which got in the same time when we conceived Lia. It was all after the wedding when we prepare for her arrival that I can finally breathe, relax and focus on our weekly check-ups. Yes, we do mine almost weekly because it was considered a high risk pregnancy because of my diabetes. I am taking my insulin every single day, besides twice a day blood sugar monitoring meaning more pricking and I have to endure the insulin shots thrice a day. I did everything because I have to take it seriously or I will lose my baby because of too much sugar in my system. From 5 units of insulin to something as high as 45 units and each increased unit makes the injection sites more and more stingy each time, sometimes lumpy. I feel like giving up on it but no, I made my little Peanut my own motivation.
During one of our ultrasounds, when our OB, Dra Joy Bambalan was doing the biophysical scoring, she told us that Peanut’s other femur bone seems to be a bit shorter in size and that the baby is a little small for her gestational age. And of course, we’re still trying to be positive, she said maybe it was Peanut’s position and they can’t get the right measurements and they have also adviced me to eat veggies and more protein rich food for the baby. We did! Trips to Paul in BGC almost everyday and all I wanted to eat was their saute de poulet aux champignon. Basically chicken with mushrooms, bread and caesar salad on the side. And when I thought everything works, it didn’t.
On the day I gave birth to Lia, it was an emergency c-section due to preeclampsia and her heartbeat was dropping because there was constriction on the blood flow in my placenta and my umbilical cord making it hard for oxygenated blood to reach her. I had an elevated blood pressure, a soaring 180/120 and then it went up to 180/130 to 190/120. Daig ko pa kumain ng lechon at sisig sa isang araw!! So when we were in the delivery room and heard Liabelle cry for the first time, it was like heaven for me and her cries sounded music to my ears. But the doctor whispered something to Rick and I was able to hear it. “Don’t tell her about the foot yet!” was her exact words. I was so worried about the foot and asked him about it and he said I shouldn’t worry and he would tell me about it later when everything’s stable.
They took Lia right away to the neonatal intensive care unit because they are worried about her lungs and they’re going to do newborn screenings, etc. Once everything was stable and I was back on my regular suite, Rick told me about Lia’s club foot and showed me a picture of her legs and her right foot. Her right leg is indeed shorter than the other, orthopedic doctor also said she had hip dysplasia. Geez, I never imagined life could be this hard on me. Post partum blues kicked in and I was like, WHAT THE HELL DID I DO WRONG?! Even though doctors tried to explain to me what might have caused it, I didn’t understand and I don’t even want to listen to them. Pasok sa kabilang tenga, labas sa kabila. Rick made me understand Lia’s condition and so is Google. I want to blame my diabetes, sometimes her position in my tummy or I sometimes think my pelvic bone is just not too wide and broad enough and she doesn’t have enough room to move around. I even question myself everyday and up to this day blame myself with what happened. One perinatologist doctor in St Lukes made it sound like it was my fault because of my diabetes. Oo dumagdag pa sa pasanin kong mundo! Everytime they’re talking to me and Rick I feel like shaking, because who knows if it was good or bad news. She also had a heart murmur and she had pneumonia which they are trying to sort out with antibiotics and ibuprofen. She also had reflux which made it a bit hard for the nurses to feed her. And she had transient hyperinsulinism and neonatal hypoglycemia. Oh ‘di ba? Lahat sila sabay-sabay, magaling-magaling. I still feel like half of me is not functioning so much. But after seeing other babies inside the NICU, Rick was telling me that we should be thankful that those are the only complications we had and there are procedures we can do to correct the club foot. They recommended a pediatric orthopedic doctor Dr Fredrick Nicomedez. He started treating Lia’s hip dysplasia, and made her wear a Pavlik harness.
We have to do constant x-rays and ultrasounds for her hips and foot. Turns out they cannot see the ball on her femur legs that connects to the socket in her hips. There are a lot of improvements after we had the harness but still they need thorough checking on her. Doctor said we should do tenotomy to cut her achilles tendon and at the same time do an arthrogram, a procedure where they would inject dye on her hips under general anesthesia and they would do an MRI scan to locate the ball in her femur bone. I opted out. I don’t think my daughter’s ready to go under the knife considering we haven’t sorted out her heart murmur yet.
We lived a normal life.. Or maybe not?
Although I know it wasn’t normal, I tried. I said we should wait until she’s big enough before doing the surgery.
She started learning how to stand on her own, then tried walking..
We eventually learned how to walk but Lia’s a bit behind with all the other kids the same age as her. She was pretty advanced with her speech, her motor and cognitive skills and her intellectual skills as per her pediatric doctor, Dra Angeli Barretto, but was so left behind with the physical development. They thought the heart problem contributed to her not gaining weight. So we saw a cardiologist, Dra. Maya Dorotan-Guevara, she said Lia have 2 holes holes in her heart and the condition was called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). There was a hole on the heart that was open while babies are inside the tummy and will close at least few days or weeks right after they were born, but Lia’s didn’t and there’s too much fluids in her system that might cause the heart to over work all because she had 2 holes in her heart. She put us on diuretics to make Lia pee and release fluids through her urine, if things won’t work we might need a surgery. 😥😭
After 2 months we got her checked again and the diuretics worked!
I know it will be inevitable to get the surgery done on her foot, so we decided to do it here in the UK instead. We got her looked at by the surgeon yesterday. And said the same thing the doctor in the Philippines said and explained the procedures that we’ll be doing. I am relieved and I felt like Lia is ready for it now.
People have been asking what happened to Lia and I cannot give them enough answers because I myself don’t know why this happened. I don’t really know how she got the club foot, but one thing is certain, we’ll do everything for her. I learned through her situation to just shrug my shoulders and don’t really care what others might think about her foot. Lia is a sweet and smart girl I must say, and I am trying to mould her to be strong, confident and brave, to not get so conscious of how her foot and legs looks like because at the end of the day, it won’t matter. What we are physically doesn’t define who we are on the inside. And lastly, I want her to embrace her imperfections because that’s the only way to accept what was given to her and to us. 😊 I wonder how something so small can be as brave as her. As much as possible, we want her to live normal, act normal and feel normal. Where she can walk in the streets without being bullied or belittled, do things that a normal person can do. I sometimes imagine someone calling Lia names or mess around with her, I don’t really know what I’m capable of just yet but we’ll see by then. 😂😝
Looking back to her pictures and fast forward to after the surgery, I wonder how things will be like for us? I can’t wait!!