Angela Erin Williams, 39 of Ballantyne, just published her first book Gracefully about her daughter Elle Grace’s Club Foot diagnosis. Keep reading to learn more about their journey.
Q. What inspired Gracefully?
After our daughter, Elle Grace, was born with bilateral Club Feet, I was inspired to put something together for parents in the same or similar situation. Having received a scary diagnosis, I wrote Gracefully about our journey and what it means to have a child who is 'different' and what that feels like. My husband and I were devastated. Once she was born, the care she received at OrthoCarolina transcended any hopes we had. Our prayers were answered: they helped our daughter. I wrote Gracefully as healing for myself and inspiration for other families.
I share our journey on my blog: www.angelaerinwilliams.com/blog
Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey.
A. When the doctor reading my ultrasound said, "What do you know about Club Feet?", Brett and I were shocked. All of our expectations were altered: our hopes and dreams for our little girl changed in an instant. The world we live in is difficult and harsh and we were worried about what she would encounter.
Q. What exactly does club feet mean and what is the treatment?
A. Club Feet is where the child is born with feet turned in and upside down. Club Feet is the number one physical birth defect in the world, occurring once in every 750 births. It's a treatable condition, with casting and bracing. but surgery is sometimes needed. We are thankful that Elle most likely won't need surgery.
Q. Tell us about the experience of casting and bracing and what that entailed.
A. The casts were harsh looking and rough. They were so incredibly heavy on her tiny 7-pound body - they banged together and pulled her soft skin when she moved. Baths were tricky and I knew when she cried it could be that her skin was itching... and that I couldn't help her.
After five weeks the final set of casts were removed. Her feet were resting in a neutral position, no longer turned up and inwards, but the hardest part was next: successful permanent correction of Elle's feet would require diligent, long-term wearing of a Ponseti brace, all day, every day. We would need to be religious about her wearing the brace 23 hours a day for 3 months. Then hopefully just at night for years, until her feet would rest in a neutral position and not revert back.
Q. You started out blogging about you and Elle's journey, what did you learn from the experience?
A. Blogging has allowed me to document our journey and provide Elle and our son, Cooper, something to have someday - a diary of sorts. An opportunity to share our story and experience in a literal way. I am also a freelance writer for ScoopCharlotte, where I get to write about living in Charlotte.
You can find more information at: website: www.angelaerinwilliams.com and read more about the Club Foot diagnosis and treatment at https://www.orthocarolina.com/patient-education/pediatric/clubfoot.
To read a recent a recent guest blog post from Williams on the MmsCharlotte.com site, visit http://www.charlotteobserver.com
And feel free to contact Angela via email: email@example.com