Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beauty from…bilateral club feet?

Cooper has spent the last six weeks of his life wearing casts to correct his bilateral club feet.  His casts have been replaced every week with brand spankin’ new casts, which have been positioned weekly to further straighten his feet.  This is what Cooper’s casts look like after only one week:

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Cooper hasn’t let his casts deter him from exploring our home and ranch.  Seriously, he crawls everywhere in his casts, including outside, through the crushed granite pathways, and all the way to our barn so he can get to the 4-wheeler.  Nothing is going to prevent Cooper from getting to where he wants to be!  Perseverance at its best!


Yesterday Cooper had surgery, as part of the requirements for the Ponseti method of club foot repair.  We’ve been blessed with an awesome pediatric orthopedist who specializes in club foot repair.  Yesterday, Cooper’s anesthesiologist informed us that Cooper’s orthopedist is simply one of the best in the nation.  That’s just like God to bless us with such an awesome specialist who is within an hour of our home.

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Cooper relaxing prior to surgery.

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Cooper giving some lovin’ to his daddy.

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Cooper getting some lovin’ from his daddy.


Cooper was in surgery for a couple of hours (much of that time was spent prepping him for surgery), without any complications.  The surgeon explained that he decided to do things a little differently with Cooper because of the severity of his bilateral club feet, plus the length of time he’s lived with such severity (six years and eleven months now) due to his feet not being repaired in Ukraine.


Cooper’s orthopedist cut three notches in each of his Achilles tendons, then sutured those notches.  Then he casted Cooper’s feet at a 60 degree outward angle.  Ouch.  Cooper will wear these casts for three weeks straight.

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Cooper was in a lot of pain post-surgery.  He would arch his back and cry, but he had a great recovery nurse who chased the pain with a variety of pain meds, trying to help him get to a more tolerable level of discomfort.

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After a couple of hours in recovery, Cooper’s orthopedist approved Cooper to recover at home with his family rather than being required to stay the night at the hospital.  Hallelujah!  Once we got Cooper’s pain under control, he was wanting to sit up and watch shows on the iPad.  He even ate his very first Jello (although he didn’t chew it, he just swallowed it whole, but still, we celebrate!)  Glory to Jehovah Rapha!

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Cooper bruises SO easily.  Look at what the blood pressure cuff did to his his sweet little arm:

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Cooper just looked so very pitiful post-op, but we’re so very grateful that the doctor believes he’ll be able to walk and run after his feet are fully repaired.  Yippee!

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One of the sweetest things we experienced with Cooper is that he reached out to grab both Matt and my hands for comfort!  He’s never done that before.  He’s never sought out anyone for comfort, so this was a huge milestone.  Throughout Cooper’s recovery at the hospital, he would purposefully seek out our comfort, finding our hands and holding them tightly.  Oh so precious and such a milestone to celebrate!!!  Praises to our King of kings!!!


Cooper’s first night at home went well.  I was diligent with his pain medicines, making sure to administer them on schedule with hopes that Cooper’s pain wouldn’t get out of control.  At 9:45PM, Cooper was in his crib with all meds in his system when he started bawling.  I ran in to check on him, and he just wanted Mommy to hold him.  This was a first.  I treasured rocking him while he lay contentedly in my arms soaking in the comfort only a mommy can give.  Oh what a time of rejoicing!!!


Cooper slept great through the night.  I, on the other hand, barely slept at all.  I was so concerned about him, wondering if I’d know if he was hurting in the night since he doesn’t speak.  I assumed he would cry, but what if he didn’t and he lay there hurting?  So, I checked on him throughout the night, relieved to find him resting peacefully each and every time.  I continued to administer his pain meds throughout the night, just to make sure things didn’t get out of control for Cooper.  He woke this morning with a smile on his face, and I’ll continue to administer his pain meds on schedule throughout the day, couple with lots of Mommy lovin’, of course.


During my times of reflection and prayer throughout the night, I was reminded that sometimes healing comes through pain.  I was thinking of how much I wished Cooper’s feet had been repaired as an infant in his birth country, as would have occurred here, had he been born in the US.  I was thinking how much I wished that God would have just miraculously healed Cooper’s feet, like He did Conner’s heart, so that Cooper wouldn’t have to go through this painful process.  Then I was reminded that I would have missed some very special moments, some healing for both me and Cooper, that wouldn’t have occurred had we not been required to walk the painful path toward healing.


Most of us (including me!) want to skip the painful process that many healings require, praying hard for that miracle, but through it all, God has a purpose and plan, regardless of His decision.  Sometimes God chooses to heal miraculously, bringing glory to Himself in ways that only our Miracle Maker is able to do.  We praise Him mightily for those times, for our hearts are forever changed when miracles happen, especially when we are chosen to receive the privilege of witnessing His miracles first-hand.  It is through these times that our faith is built, witnessing the miraculous works that only our Father is capable of, with no other explanation or person who can receive credit, for it is only by and through the mighty hand of our Savior that miracles occur.


Other times God chooses to allow the painful process of refining by fire as part of His healing process.  We praise Him mightily for those times as well because it is through those times that God is circumcising our hearts, even when we don’t understand what is happening or why it is happening.  God is sovereign, He is in control, He loves us more than we can possibly fathom, and He works in all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  It is also through these times that our faith is built, not being able to see the why, yet wholeheartedly trusting in the Who. 


Sometimes it’s our hearts in need of healing, even when we don’t realize it.  Sometimes it takes painful circumstances to bring about the required healing.  Sometimes the healing doesn’t look at all like we would imagine.  The pile of ashes (pain, regret, mistakes, injustice, unfairness…anything we can heap on the pile) just continues to grow.  And then one day, we receive our crowns, often times as we’re delivered through a painful circumstance.  He chooses to give us beauty for the ashes.  He is the only One capable of such a miracle, as there is nothing beautiful about ashes, but through His exchange of bestowing on us a crown of beauty for the ashes, we see His plan unfolding, His healing, His redemption. 


The intricate details of His plan never cease to amaze me.  Ever.  I will forever treasure the memory of Cooper looking to one side of his crib in that recovery room, searching for something very specific.  Because he doesn’t have words or signs (yet!) and is considered non-verbal, I was trying to figure out what he was looking for, with no signs whatsoever of what he might be frantically searching for.  Tears filled my eyes as I realized it was my hand that he was seeking.  Cooper grasped my hand tightly, then reached across his crib in search of my other hand.  Beauty from ashes before my eyes, as my son held both of my hands tightly in his, to be comforted by the love of his mommy, after only being home two months.




Beauty from ashes.


All glory to our mighty Savior, for He has done great things!

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PS  Cooper’s already crawling around, exploring the toys.  I have a feeling he’ll be looking for the 4-wheeler by the time evening rolls around!

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