5 weeks + 3 days in cast, 7 to 8 weeks to go.
Yep, you read that right...we're not as close to half way done as I thought. But there was good and bad news today so I'll start from the beginning.
It was an early beginning. Kaia's cast change time was at 8 am. Because she's a baby and can't hold still on command, the cast change was done under anesthetic. So while there was no actual surgery today, we had to prepare as though there was. Which means we had to wake Kaia up at 3:45 am to give her a last bottle before she was NPO (no food) for 4 hours prior to surgery. It also meant we had to be at the hospital by 6 am for her pre-op check in, so we didn't get much sleep last night (YAWN!)
Anyway, the cast change went smooth as silk. She was taken in right at 8am and she was only under for about an hour. She woke up really well (last time she screamed herself hoarse) and we were released from the hospital by 11 am. First surgical time slot of the day sucks to get started, but it's worth it to be home by noon.
The surgeon came to talk to us afterwards and said things had gone well, and Kaia's hip, from what he can tell just by x-ray and moving it around, is developing as he would like. He'd like to leave her in the cast for at least another 7 to 8 weeks. Since I was hoping we'd be out by the end of March, (ie: 6 ish weeks), this is not the most thrilling news. Now it looks like we might spend Easter in the cast. This would put her 'freedom date' sometime the second week of April if he makes us go the full 8 weeks.
The other not so wonderful thing is that after her initial surgery back in January, Kaia had an MRI immediately afterwards to confirm that her hip was in place once the cast was on (no use being in a cast if the hip isn't EXACTLY where it's suppose to be). During that MRI, an incidental finding was discovered of a "mass in the labia". You can't see this "mass" on visible inspection (and I've looked), but the surgeon told us today he suspects it might be a hernia. Kaia now has an ultrasound of her 'lady bits' scheduled for the end of February to see if they can exactly tell what it is. If it is in fact a hernia, I'm betting this isn't going to be our last day surgery procedure!
A hernia isn't totally unexpected, as hernias are fairly common amongst the preemie set (although typically more often seen in boys in my experience), AND Kaia's got family history on her (down) side, since Brian, my father and my brother all had hernia surgery as babies. Still, it's just one more thing we'll have to 'deal' with at some point. One more scar for my little lady to chalk up.
Anyway, on to the good news.
Good news is that once Kaia is out of the cast...THAT'S IT! From what I've typically read on babycenter under the "hip dysplasia board", kids are often put in a brace or harness AGAIN after being in a cast. The 'after cast harness' is usually worn full time for awhile except for baths, then the time is gradually decreased over the following weeks/months and sometimes even YEARS to spans of "18 hours a day" or "only at night". I was fully expecting her surgeon to say that yes, Kaia would be fitted for a brace once the cast was off. However, when I asked today he said "Nope. Once the cast is off that's it".
Really? REALLY??!! YIPPEE!!!! I'll take another week or two in a cast as trade-sies for NO time in a brace.
Now I realize that we're not out of the woods yet. If, over time, Kaia's hip doesn't make the progress towards 'normal' that they would like to see, it could mean more surgery and/or cast time in the future, but we'll deal with that if it comes (and I really hope it doesn't. Can you imagine hauling your 6 year old around in a body cast? My back aches just thinking about it!)
So, that's the update! Grow Kaia's hip! GROW!!!