Our Club Feet Story

This is the story of our firstborn with club feet.

My husband Ben and I were married for over 6 years before our first child, Blake, was born. At 18 weeks gestation we went in for a routine sonogram. We sat holding hands, looking at the chambers of the heart, our baby’s face, and his little legs kicking away. When I asked the tech if everything looked okay, she paused. “Well, it looks like your baby may have club feet.” She walked out of the room to show the doctor the print outs and he returned to refer us to a perinatologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital for confirmation. I was a bit surprised, but did not know too much about it, to be upset.

So, of course we went home and googled “club feet.” There is a 1 in 1000 chance that a child could have this genetic disease. It is one of the most common birth defects and can often be treated with casting by orthopedic surgeons, and if necessary, corrective surgeries. Nothing we couldn’t handle right? So, 4 long weeks later, we met with a Hopkins doctor who did over an hour-long sonogram. He looked for signs of other deformities and confirmation of club feet. We were shown both of Blake’s feet and legs. They were clearly “fused” inward. While the rest of his joints were moving normally the entire time, including his knees, his ankle and foot deformity was clear. We were heartbroken for our little one. He would have casting up to his groin with a bar between his legs connecting each cast, along with having to wear special shoes. My mind began to race…Trips to Hopkins. Possible surgeries. No babywearing. No cloth diapers. Odd nursing positions. Pain. Itching. None of these were issues that parents would want for their precious baby, but they were manageable. Then, the perinatologist dropped a bomb… “Club foot is often a marker of neurological problems.” Immediately, I was frozen in fear. He went on to suggest that we go to for genetic counseling and get an amniocentesis. I hung onto his every word, but could not wait to be home in my husband’s arms.

The next day Ben and I prayed and discussed what we wanted to do. We called our parents and siblings and kept it really low key – “Yes, our baby has club feet. He will become a Hopkins patient. Oh, and there may be neurological problems, too.” Oddly, no one seemed to hear that last sentence except my mom. Perhaps it was because we purposefully said it as an afterthought. I am not sure, but we got off the phone quickly with each person so we did not have to verbalize the what-ifs.

We immediately asked for friends and family to pray for our baby’s healing. We visited the head of Hopkins orthopedic surgery unit, Dr. Sponsellor, a few weeks later to discuss treatment options and schedule our baby’s first appointment. That consultation went well. The awful part was waiting for 2 hours to be seen and watching child after child come and go. Some were in wheelchairs. Others had leg braces, or major birth defects. As I felt our son kick inside me, I grieved for what the future might hold.

We never went for the counseling or amnio. We had no plans to terminate the pregnancy, so we decided not to bother putting ourselves through more painful appointments. The rest of the pregnancy was wonderful. We anticipated our baby’s arrival with joy, believing that God would do whatever would bring Him glory in the end. We were at peace, despite occasional flickers of fear here and there. We bought lots of newborn gowns in anticipation of casting, not because we didn’t have faith that God wouldn’t heal our baby, but because we believed that He still could be glorified through our trial and we ought to prepare ourselves for it.

Our baby was born on December 3, 2006 after 27 long hours in labor. When they handed him to me, I looked at his face, without thought of his feet. It wasn’t until hours later that my husband and I discussed that Blake did not appear to have club feet from the glimpse we got before he was swaddled. When the hospital pediatrician came by we asked him how Blake’s feet looked. Not knowing our history, he looked puzzled, and said, “Just fine, why?” Ben and I looked at each other and smiled. That’s when I knew. Not only did we bring our first child into the world, but The Great Physician healed him.

We kept our scheduled appointment at Hopkins with Dr. Sponseller to be sure there wasn’t something we were overlooking. After asking us a few questions, Dr. Sponseller showed his two doctors in residence how our two week old had full mobility in his ankles. He looked right at us and stated that it wasn’t even a mild case of club feet. He plainly did not have the deformity.

Several months later, I went to the hospital to visit a friend who had just had a baby. On our way to the maternity ward, Blake and I passed the perinatologist room where we received confirmation of Blake’s club feet diagnosis and potential neurological problems. I looked at him and we suddenly seemed to walk in slow motion. I was carrying my healthy baby on my hip, his legs across my stomach and back, and he was smiling at me. I began to praise God with tears in my eyes and a spring in my step. I would like to say I would have had that same spring in my step had God willed otherwise, but there’s no way to know, for He answered the pleas of this servant. He healed our son.

Oh, and…”Just so we wouldn’t forget,” my dad said, “God left His calling card” on Blake’s left foot. One of Blake’s toes crosses over the other in the direction that his entire foot was originally turned. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe not.

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21 Comments »

  1. Jenny said

    Lisa,
    Thanks for that story! It speaks to the faith and trust you and Ben have in God. The power of prayer is just amazing! I love to hear about the blessings that God gives us.

  2. Megan said

    Hi Lisa,
    We were just told yesterday that our baby has club feet (at our 18 week sonogram). Didn’t seem like a big deal until I’m reading about other neurological conditions. I’m kinda freaked out – but your story helped. My husband and I continually say that this is ‘not in our hands.’ I pray that our story turns out like your family’s. . . . but, again, that is not in our hands.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Megan

  3. Victoria Withrow said

    My son was born 14 years ago with severe bilaterial club feet. I remember the fear and uncertainy I went through after his birth and during his surgeries. I am so happy to say that he is doing amazing. He runs as fast as his peers, won the MVP basketball award for entire league he plays in, and just made his freshman high school football team. As an infant he was casted and underwent a few surgeries. I highly recommend every parent of a child with club feet find a great physical therapist that will work with your child weekly. Although my sons shinns are thinner then the average, and he has some stiffness in his ankles, he has found ways to make it work for him. He is a very gifted athlete and very few people even realize that he has club feet. He has no limitations. The power of pray is amazing….. keep praying. Your children’s accomplishments will amaze you!

  4. Tami said

    Thank you for sharing your story. We found out last week that the ultrasound is showing our baby girl has clubfeet. This was not the worst of the news, my blood work showed a chance of downs syndrome. I went ahead and had the amnio and she does not have downs. She does have ventricularmegaly and clubfeet. God gave me peace to know that whatever He gives our little girl He will give us what we need to care for her and love her. I have felt like there is nothing wrong with asking Him to heal her in my womb, if it is His will. Your story is such a gift and confirmation that it IS okay to pray this way. I really am okay with her having challenges, but I would love for her to be able to breastfeed and sleep comfortably at night. The treatment for clubfeet is not conducive to comfy sleep.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is such an encouragement to me. I emailed it to my husband, who is out of town and my family. God is so great to give me so many faith-filled praying friends.
    To God be the glory!

  5. Michelle Burnett said

    I was born with by-lateral club feet. Luckily I had a very supportive mother. I have undergone about 12 operations for correction and take medicine daily, but with God’s love, support and faith, I have been able to raise my children, go to college and have been happily married for 23 years. One thing for people suffering with club feet or parents with children of club feet to remember, you life can be as full as you wish to make it.

  6. Brittney said

    I really would like to thank you for posting your story about what you went through and how you never had given up faith in God! It is such an inspiration for me to continue to pray to God and not be discouraged by what is told to me, especially since this will be my first born.

  7. Cathleen said

    I am mother of a 10 1/2 month old who was born with a club foot. We have been through many casts, we tried a corrective shoe and he finally had surgery 4 weeks ago. The journey has been long, and we are still not done. God in his grace and mercy is healing our son. During Jayden’s surgery, there were many complications and he developed a 103 fever, had stopped breathing, and developed some inflammation on his lungs. God saved what the thief came to steal and destroy. The healing is ours to claim, we have such a great God. The next greatest gift is our beautiful son who amazes me; this has not stopped him one bit. May healing, grace, and mercy enter into the lives of all who are dealing with this and who will deal with it in the future.

  8. Erica said

    Thanks so much for sharing this. We were just told our baby has club feet, and they think a leg issue as well. It also has fluid on it’s brain and under it’s rib… I just googled club feet to read about them, and your blog came up.
    Erica

  9. Christy said

    Hello, I’m a grandmother who has been very encouraged by all of your comments. My daughter is expecting a little girl. They did a sonogram today and discovered that she has club feet. My daughter is now twenty six weeks pregnant. Cathleen, I will claim your words of healing. grace and mercy over my grand baby. Father, please heal my grand baby. Form her feet perfectly in your hands. I will not stand on the word of a man. But on your word Lord. And you promise me that by you stripes we are healed. I praise you my Lord. I give you thanks in advance, for the wonderful work you will do in this child’s life. All my trust is in you Lord and I bless your Holy name. In Jesus’ name Amen

  10. Kathy said

    My granddaughter was born 2 months ago. We were also told she would have club feet, all about the genetic test and how the baby may not even make to term, if she did she would have down’s syndrome . We prayed everyone I knew was praying with us. She does have club feet which we are casting but she does not have down’s syndrome . Please keep praying for us but I know with Jesus we will be fine

  11. holly said

    hello my name is holly i am 22 years old, i was born with bi-lateral club feet, i’ve had 22 operations and due to have my 23rd. my parents were great when i was growing up . they were their for me and encouraged me to do things and to be strong, to find ways around the obsticles that i come accross, and i am thankful for that. i’ve learned to do many things in my life, it made me a stronger person having club feet! i do not look at as having a disability and nor will i ever, to me it is just another obstickle to learn how to get around it. i will never use my club feet as an excuse for me not being able to do something, and i would never want anyone to feel bad for me because i have club feet. people who have obsticles such as mine make them a stronger person because of it.parents who have or who are having a child whom has club feet i just want you to know your child will love you and look up to you for support when it comes to hard times like having surgeries, when they get frustrated and feel like giving up ,and they will cry and want to give up and not try things because they think they can’t, but one thing i promise you they usually can do those things, they just have to find a different way of doing it. than when they find that way, it will make them proud of them selfs. stay strong , push your child in the direction they need to go, but when their too scared to do so. believe me they will need that push. i am thankfull my parents gave me a push in the right direction when i needed it. i had an operation 3 years ago , they removed my ankle and it took me 6 months to learn how to walk again, it was hard and frustrating but in the end it took alot of pain away. like i said i am now going to have another surgery on both of my feet and i am scared but that part never gets easyer.. actually i find it gets scarier as you get older because you know more of what their doing, and altho i know i have many more surgeries in my future i am glad that i have a family that is very supportive! i hope some of the things i said help others in someway. and i am looking forward to read other peoples posts. it really helps to know that their are other people just like me out their, and it’s nice to have people who know what it’s like first hand.

  12. Lena said

    Hello my name is Lena and 23 weeks pregnant. The doctors have just given us the news that our lil girl has club foot on her right foot. I’m extremely scared and have been praying to God and having so much Faith in what He can do. All i can do is pray and stop blaming myself and learn that God will help and guide me through this. All I keep hearing is that “it can be worst” but the thought of the growing lil girl in my tummy having something wrong hurts me so bad. I have found myself depressed for I do not know how to deal with this. Reading your story uplifts me to hear your great news. And I really hope that my lil girl will not go through any pain. She will be my princess and never will I let her see my pain. I keep telling myself she will be fine and I pray to God will never leave our side and help us through it all.

  13. Kay said

    My Baby was born with a club foot. She is one month old and on her second cast of six casts. She can’t move her toes and has almost no calf muscle. Yesterday I had to hold her down as she cried and screamed so the Dr. could put her cast on. The Dr. said this is the easy part. The braces will be the hard part. I am thankful she will be able to walk, but the journey there is not easy. I don’t understand why she is going through this. We and everyone we know are praying for her. Sometimes thing are just hard. I am trying to keep hope.

  14. jen said said

    Wow! you all have been through so much. My little Sarah had the 3 months of casts, severed heel cord and now corrective shoes(might I say they are a pain, I’d rather have the casts any day) Just a note on all this technology that is out there….It stinks, in my opinion, something that is to be the most wonderful time in a womens life, it’s robbed by this machine that has images, ultrasound, it’s just sad that women have to go through this…In any case my faith grew so much during this time, the Lord allows you to go through stuff for a reason… God bless you all..
    Beautiful story and I believe in claiming the word and thats what you and your family did, he healed your baby…beautiful

  15. Lauren said

    I googled ultrasound club feet and somehow stumbled upon your story. My baby girl is due in july and yesterday the high risk dr. confirmed club feet…i pray everyday she will be born perfectly normal and healthy. I, same as you plan on doing whatever it takes to correct her feet, should they be clubbed. I fear for her future, the castings, everything. I cry on a daily basis begging god to heal her before she enters this world! She already means the world to me but your story made me cry and happy all at the sametime. I am so happy you were blessed with such a beautiful, healthy baby against dr. odds!!

  16. JG said

    You know I had a songoram yesterday and my baby was also diagnosed with club feet. The doctor also went on to talk about neural tube defects. We wait to hear today from the periantologist. After reading other stories about this condition and then reading your’s totally changed my way of thinking. You are a great inspiration and thanks for sharing your story.

  17. Anonymous said

    .

  18. Shandy said

    Hello,
    Your story really speaks to my heart! We went for our anatomy scan at 18 weeks then our ultrasound tech said it looked like our baby girl has clubfeet in both feet. We were sent to a level 2 ultrasound where they told us that the feet were def clubfeet and they were concerned about her hands on one of her hands the fingers look fused together and the other hand they never saw her open. They proceeded to tell us that this may be a sign of trisomy 18. My husband and I were just so
    Upset we had prayed for a baby forever The Lord finally answered our prayers and now our baby may not make it. They pushed us to do an amnio but we declined because we didn’t want to have the risk of miscarriage. We are now waiting on our follow up ultra sound which is scheduled for the 5th of February. We are praying and getting everyone we know to pray that God will heal our baby girl. I seen your story and it touched my heart and I just want to ask u and your family to pray for my little girl ! I know God is going to take care of her! God bless you!!

  19. Jenny said

    My husband and I found out a couple weeks ago, through an ultrasound, that our baby girl might have bilateral clubbed feet. I stumbled across this page when googling about the deformity. It was such an encouragement and blessing to me. We are Christians as well and pray that God will allow her to be born with healthy feet. We have yet to see the specialist to confirm the diagnosis so I still hold out hope that they are wrong. I know that God can do anything and he’s able to heal our little girl. But I also know that if he chooses this for us he has a reason and can get glory from it somehow. I definitely identified with all those thoughts that ran through your head. Many people I have told about the situation at church act like it’s not a big deal because it can be fixed. But as you said, no parent wants to have their baby go through all that with the casts and braces and different lifestyle. So for a mom, especially a first time mom as I also am, it’s heartbreaking. Thank you for posting.

  20. Anonymous said

    I am a 66 year old woman with a congenital left club foot. Both my husband and father are/were doctors. My life is filled with pain – and if given the opportunity, I would never want a person to have to live with my pain and the quality of life. For starters, I was casted for 10 years. Then I had 4 surgeries – they didn’t work. Finally, I had a radically osteotomy that failed. Doctors have suggested a fusion, an amputation and a leg lengthening. Now, I have a bad back and painful right hip. I am unable to stand or walk for more than 5 minutes. I am unable to travel, shop, hike, ski, or visit family. I can’t stand and cook – I can’t join my family in any outings. It sucks. So while you think you are doing your family a favor – thing hard. It is terrible.

  21. Anonymous said

    I have read over your comments – please abort your fetus and try again for a healthy baby. It is not fair to that child to make them suffer the way I have. As I said above, I have had the finest medical care as both my father and husband were/are doctors. But, nothing, including prayer is going to take away the lifelong pain. If you want your child to be in pain their entire life – be shamed by people looking at them limping through life – be unable to buy shoes that fit – have to have all shoes made – have people constantly look at them – use a cane and/or wheelchair -and lay in bed most of the day – then have your baby. But – be warned

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