July 13, 2016

joseph's club foot journey

my baby's first pair of shoes.

when we thought about joseph's first pair of shoes, we definitely were not imagining that they would be these. and when we were thinking about the first six months of his life and what they would be like, we weren't imagining time spent in casts and boots and a bar and doctor appointments every week for five weeks. and we certainly didn't think the first several years of his life would involve bnb's, but when you are expecting, you don't normally think about those sorts of things.

when joseph was born there was something obviously different about his right foot. it was curved in and up a great deal more than his left, which was tucked into the typical fetal position. we weren't immediately concerned, but wanted to see what the pediatrician on call at the hospital thought about it. the first ped insisted on x-ray's and surgery (for what, he wouldn't say). that immediately put us off as we felt that surgery wasn't necessary, especially since he couldn't give a diagnosis of any kind or even a referral. the next two peds that came in told us to wait until he was one and, if it didn't correct itself by then-'which it will'-get it checked out. but they both could't tell us even what they thought it was. so we went home and enjoyed our sweet new baby boy.

after a couple weeks went by, we didn't see much improvement and i started to think this was something that needed to be addressed immediately and not 'wait until he's one' to find out. i made an appointment for joseph to see his pediatrician and was denied a referral. i scheduled another appointment and had to fight with her to give us one, but she finally did. we got a referral to see dr. maguire down in santa barbara (about an hour and a half south of us). we made the appointment not really knowing what to expect, since we didn't really know what it was. but when we got there and the doctor saw him, he immediately said it was congenital clubfoot and told us about the ponseti method and explained what the course of action would be, which included immediate casting at the appointment! we were shocked! so we left with our baby in a cast and a long drive home to let it all sink in.

i had posted a photo to instagram sharing a bit about his clubfoot and what our short-term journey would be like with #clubfootbaby as a hashtag, and jill harold reached out to me. i thank my stars for her because i have been able to get in touch with people all over california who share the same story; mama's and dada's with clubfoot babies. she, and other mama's, have given me advice and encouragement during a very difficult process and it feels comforting knowing that we are not alone. what is really encouraging about this is that joseph will grow up and develop just fine. his feet already look perfectly normal and he seems to be unphased by this whole process. i know that there are a lot of families out there who have it much worse and, while it makes me so sad that joseph even has to go through this at all, i'm glad it's just this he has to live with.

joseph is currently into his two of eight to twelve week brace phase with his DOBBS bar, having just had five weekly casts. luckily he didn't have to have a tenotomy! he is in his bnb's for 23 hours a day, with an hour of exercises and therapy at home, until he graduates to nighttime only use up to five years. i'm not gonna lie-i cannot wait until that happens. while the bnb's aren't really that big of a deal and we all get around just fine, i'll be really glad when i can baby wear him in my most preferred carriers and not have to work wardrobe around them and only put them on at night and during naps. it will also be nice for him to have free play all day long and be able to hit his milestones without missing a beat. i can't imagine what it would be like for him if we had waited until he was one to get this corrected. i am so glad i listened to my heart and brought this to light. it gives me reassurance that i am getting something right in this whole mama thing. let's face it-being a mama is hard stuff!

if you're going through this clubfoot journey, please know you are not alone! clubfoot affects one in every one thousand births and chances are there is someone going through this same journey right around the corner from you! if you're in california, you can request to join the clubfoot community of california facebook group and connect with other mama's out there. jill heads the group and is full of amazing resources and information. i would love to connect with you and read your baby's journey as well. share your link below!


  1. So sad to know that Drs are still unaware of clubfoot. I'm glad you stuck with your gut! Great job momma. He looks great! Happy journey Joseph!

  2. It is truly saddening that I, a mother with no degree of withstanding, can simply google my sons foot and get a general idea of what it is, but four pediatricians can't even give me a referral. I'd heard of Clubfoot before, so I thought it must be 'a thing', you know? That, like, everyone knew about it. I had no idea how unspoken this is! Awareness should most definitely be spread!
    Joseph is such a happy boy and I can't be thankful enough for this easy transitional period. I can only hope it continues this way!

  3. I follow you on instagram and my baby had a right clubfoot as well..I am new to california (southern) and looking for other moms out there to make friends and play dates. Anyways I'm so blessed to see Dr's are able to fix this small but tiny issue. I hate the bnb but at,the same time I love it that it's worked wonders for my baby girl.

    Look forward to seeing more post :):) you have a beautiful family :)
    May God Bless

    --jessica vargas ❤

  4. Hi Ashley, loved reading this and especially loved the photos :) I live in London but my blog (still under construction) is https://ourlittlehappyfeet.wordpress.com/ I'm also on instagram (username:fzj7) and would love to follow more clubfoot mums!