This has been the week of consultations. I've been very apprehensive of the Kaiser option but I decided to give it a shot. Putting it lightly, I left the appointment extremely conflicted and confused. Dr. Shoemaker was incredibly nice and confident. He had training in clubfoot at the Scottish Rite hospital in Texas, which supposably has a good clubfoot program, and he claimed to only have a 10% ATTT surgical rate. Still something just didn't feel right. He deviated a lot from the standard Ponseti protocol. He changes the cast every 7 to 10 days instead of every 5 to 7 and he only does night bracing until around 18 months. I asked him about the contradictions and he made me feel like I was wearing a snow jacket in 60 degree weather. He told me he found the "strict" treatment regimen unnecessary, "mean", and that it can impede on normal development.
One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn during this pregnancy is that sometimes I have to questions those I am supposed to trust. I went to the nosurgery4clubfoot support group and asked for the advice of parents who have been there. One of the best things another mom told me was to "trust your instincts." As soon as I read that I turned to mush. After a slightly hormonal breakdown, I knew I needed to contact Dr. Zionts in LA. I emailed him at 5pm and received a response at 9:30pm! Wow! I was able to explain my insurance predicament and what treatment was being offered to me here in San Diego. He reassured me that I could defer treatment up till 12 weeks with no long term problems and that he would forward my number on to the billing department to start going over options. My husband got a call at 5pm the next day from the UCLA orthopedic hospital. Debbie was so nice and kind on the phone. She is helping us figure out cash, PPO, and HMO options. We even got a email from her late last night that she hasn't forgotten about us and is still working the numbers to get us all the info we need. This is the first time my instincts feel at ease.
Now that I am tackling all the treatment options now I finally feel like I can focus on some more normal things. I had my last childbirth class was on Tuesday and I'm trying to retain all the information. Looking back I am so happy I decided on the Bradley classes. Attending the classes over the past 13 weeks has definitely kept me grounded. Every week it was a reminder of all the "normal" things about having a baby. I just hope that I am able to put into practice all the techniques and exercises I learned. During the classes I read Ina Mays guide to Childbirth and there was a chapter that really stuck with me. As a midwife she would occasionally face the problem of women failing to progress in labor. Of course at a hospital you would be whisked away for a c-section but Ina May found that the failure to progress was often a psychological issue. One woman was afraid she wouldn't be as good of a mom to her second as her first, another woman was regretting the vows her and her husband said at their wedding and wanted to re-do them with the words "till death do us part", and there was another single mom who was afraid of caring for a child on her own. Now all these are pretty normal fears, I couldn't imagine the conflicting emotions a soon to be mom giving birth to a child she knows has a birth defect. I am so grateful to modern technology for finding my little mans clubfoot so I am able to prepare and find proper treatment. At the same time I need to be able to embrace the tough few years ahead and not let the fear of how his leg will develop hold me back in any way.