My second child Rose is just 14 months old. Technically she’s a toddler but really she’s still a baby. I mean she only just started walking a few weeks ago. She’s an adorable, funny, healthy and happy baby…. A baby!
She’s the same age right now as Nora was when Nora got her first Mehta cast. This is mind-boggling to me. I’ve been fixated on this for a couple weeks now. Lately I look at Rose and I think, my gosh how did we do casting with Nora? Look how little Rose is, she’s not even 20 pounds. How did we do this years ago? I’ve REALLY realized just how small she is and to imagine her in a cast….I don’t know how we did this before.
And yet, I’m very matter-of-fact about Mehta casting and I’m a huge advocate for casting. I don’t hesitate to explain to new parents in support groups how important it is to begin casting as soon as they can, as early as nine months old, sometimes even six months old.
…But they are still such tiny babies…
I’m quick and steadfast in my recommendations to parents about Mehta casting typically being the BEST non-invasive treatment plan. Non-invasive….
Honestly, ‘non-invasive’ it’s a bit of an oxymoron when it comes to casting. Yes, yes, yes, it’s the best medical option to begin with almost always for idiopathic infantile scoliosis and often for severe congenital and neuromuscular cases. But take the medical point of view out and it’s hard to say a Mehta cast isn’t invasive. It’s an entire plaster and fiberglass cast covering a child’s torso. Shoulders to hips. You can’t ignore it. It does change some things.
But kids are resilient and learn new ways to do just about everything. Avoiding baths, swimming, sand, heat and a few others are hard but not awful. The trips to the OR every two months and dealing with post-op was gut-wrenchingly hard for us. But the hardest part was not being able to hug, hold and comfort my baby the same. You adapt but I think I missed feeling the weight of my baby’s body collapse into mine. There’s nothing more comforting than fully physically embracing someone you love. When I reflect on this I can easily get very emotional about it, some two and half years after casting.
But we did it because that’s what you do. And we did it not knowing if it would work. We did it knowing we would still need to embark on a complex surgery or surgeries down the road.
At the time it was hard. But we’ve come so far now. We are past casting, which bought us two years of growth time. We are two years past surgery. While it’s not so long ago at the same time it IS a long time ago. Being over two years past it, it’s become easy for me to think, it really wasn’t so hard. Because it wasn’t…when you look back.
But seeing Rose the same age as Nora was when we embarked on this journey … it’s been humbling. Humbling. That very first cast of Nora’s forever changed me. Truly changed me. Changed me in ways I can’t describe, ways I think only parents who have walked in these shoes can understand.
But I’m filled with so much gratitude.
I wonder, will these same waves of emotions, memories and humility still overcome me when I see my future grandchildren turn 14 months old too? I sure hope so.