Some of you have emailed to ask about Tony’s lucky foot: what is it, how did it happen, what does it mean, and is it really as cool as Finding Nemo makes it sound?
The short answers are: post-medial tibia.. something or other that I can’t articulate without referencing WebMD; he is a yoga baby who got stuck in lotus position; we don’t quite know yet; and they TOTALLY STOLE DORY FROM MY LIFE.
Because it’s all about me anyway, let me elaborate: I have no short-term memory. Seriously. That’s one of the main reasons I blog.. so everything is written down and I can remember later how incredibly witty and funny I am in the moment. And humble, let’s not forget how humble I am about my perfection. Throw in my innate ability to speak foreign languages (or at least my perception in doing so), the fact that I am easily distracted by shiny things, and my need to just keep swimming, and ta da! I am Dory. I imagine that, if Disney were to fill in the backstory of why Dory has no short-term memory, they would agree that she worked as a disc jockey in central Louisiana and smoked A TON of the wacky tabacky, and kids, drugs really DO kill your brain cells. Oh, and I would totally be voiced by a lesbian comedienne.
What was I talking about? Oh, my son. Right. With the foot.
So, yeah. I will never, ever forget the way Bryan looked right after Tony was born and they were cleaning him up. Granted, I was WAY out of it (you should see the video.. I’m surprised I didn’t ask if I could help them clean up), but I distinctly remember my tunnel vision involving an ashen Bryan, as he looked from Tony to the nurses, the nurses to Tony, and back again. Waiting for someone to acknowledge it. Waiting for someone to state the obvious. Our child had a deformity.
While all of our family visited in the room, taking turns holding the small wet bundle that was my 8.5 lb nu-nu stretcher, Bryan came over and quietly told me that there was something wrong with Tony’s foot. It looked broken, he said, but the nurses didn’t want to make any guesses. They also threw out the term “club foot”.
I should state here that the nurses who helped us through labor and delivery were, for the most part, Godsends. Seriously. If I ever have a daughter, I might just name her Julie in thanks to the nurse who stayed by my side (or front, really) and kept me centered for the 2.5 hour pushing. She was awesome. And Lord knows no nurse ever wants to deliver the news that something’s wrong with the baby.
Bryan and I were moved to our room and Kari came to visit with me while I inhaled a salad from Steak Out. I had requested that Tony be kept at the nursery during our stay for the most part, because I knew this was my last opportunity to sleep before the child turned 18. They wheeled him in about an hour after we were in the room, and I unwrapped him to observe what they had seen. His foot lay firmly against his shin.
Point your toe out straight. Now flex your foot in as far as you can. Imagine that nothing prevented you from flexing your foot in to your tibia bone. That’s what it looked like.
First and foremost, he was in no pain. This was my only immediate concern. In fact, he seemed to have full control over his foot; he just prefered it “tucked up”. Bryan and I looked at it, not knowing what to say, not knowing how to broach it.
The next day, the attending pediatrician came in to talk to us about it. He was no orthopedic specialist, he preempted, but he was pretty sure it wasn’t club foot. But he called in a specialist to verify for us.
The specialist was an ass. I don’t have much to say about him. But he did confirm that it wasn’t club foot.
I take it back. I do have one thing to say about him. When we walked in, we thought he was there to collect the trash from the room. Except that actually may be disgracing the janitorial staff.
We visited the REAL specialist a week after Tony was born, who apologized profusely for his ass of a coworker. The specialist told us this was actually not uncommon among births who had a longer gestation period. Tony had gone a week overdue, but pretty much through my third trimester I had complained that one of Tony’s feet was stuck in my ribs. In fact, to this day, I can point to one place, just below my right boob, where his foot ALWAYS was. And it turns out I was right; Tony’s foot remained crossed behind his other shin, causing it to form incorrectly. There was really no way of knowing that this happened, and our doctor seemed optimistic that it would fix itself with time.
We go back every three months to check on his progress. And if you talk to people now who saw Tony when he was born, they are amazed at how much it has improved. In fact, when he’s wearing socks, you really can’t tell that either foot is different. When you stretch his legs out, however, his left leg (the lucky foot) is a good two inches shorter. This Friday, he visits the specialist again, and we’re going to ask if there’s new exercises we should be doing. And it’s great to hear success stories; right after we finally got Tony diagnosed, we had tons of people come forward with the stories that their cousin’s sister’s mom’s housekeeper’s paparazzi took a snapshot of Kevin Bacon, and Lord knows no one even notices his foot anymore.
I’ve had people ask me how we deal with it. Frankly, we don’t. It’s not something to “deal with”, in our book. When people ask how Tony is, I state, “He’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.” Because he is. We’ve got some crosses to bear, sure, but who doesn’t?
I think that our take on the situation is best summed up by a comment made by my best guy Kevin, when he came to visit us in the hospital. We showed him Tony’s foot, and he smiled, and said, “Well, he’s definitely got the part of Tiny Tim locked down.”