Guest Post Catherine & her Happy Feet Talipes Son Alex

I recently posted Alex's Story the feedback I received was amazing, & for me it was such a special feeling talking about Talipes from another baby. *You must all get bored hearing about Hugo & I .... 

So this is a Guest post about Catherine telling you how she's coping through her Talipes Journey:

The last year and a half has been a rocky one. Motherhood is not what I imagined and I still get jealous of my friends and their babies. Even silly little things like feety sleep suits, slippers and day dream about not having to put his boots on at night. I get mad when people say things like ‘what is he not sleeping though yet?’… he is not sleeping through yet, but can you blame him? He has to sleep with big old clunky boots on fixed together with a steel bar…would you sleep through the night if you had to wear them? I know I wouldn’t!
Sleep deprivation is a bit of a sore subject for us Talipes parents and a common topic for discussion on Happy Feet. I have so far tried everything. Sleeping bags, blankets, duvet, cot, travel cot, his room, our room, controlled crying, lots of cuddles, co sleeping, milk, no milk, baby massage, early bedtime, later bedtime…you name it we have tried it. So far our routine consists of this; supper, bath, boots on, book and bed (in a travel cot with mattress- as the mesh side support his boots when he rolls onto his side). Alex is in bed by 7:30pm at the latest. This gives me and my partner Paul two hours (if we are lucky) before the fun begins. Enough time to say hello, have dinner, bath and….oh what’s that? Alex is awake again. He then gets a bottle of milk and he might if we are lucky go straight back to sleep. If not we take it in turns to go in a comfort him. It’s heart breaking to see. You know WHY your baby is crying but can’t really do anything about it as you know it’s for the best in the long term. This will continue until we go to bed. We take it in turns to get sleep otherwise we would both be constantly knackered. After hourly visits to his room usually about 3am Alex wakes up screaming and he comes into bed and one of us sleeps on the sofa. It’s exhausting! But again you do what you have got to do……

I decided to write a book about Alex's boots and bars in an attempt to make them appear more magical and less medical. The book started off as a project during the endless sleepless nights. I found myself day dreaming of ways to help my little boy to sleep during the night. 

With one eye open and a pen in my hand I wrote a few verses and found it quite therapeutic. Not only was I writing about my son being whisked away to a land of endless possibility and adventure it also became a release for me.

Parents of 'Happy Feet' babies often paint on a smile and say everything is fine. But don't be fooled...some days are rough! You want to throw the boots out of the window never to be seen again...but we know better. We know in the long term despite all of the tears (from both child and Mummy) it will be worth it.

I started dreaming about all of the things Alex will be able to do in the future because we persevered with the treatment.

And so 'Welcome to Dreamland' was born....
I gave his first book to him as a present on his first birthday. The plan is to write a new edition of Dreamland every year; each visiting a new place and meeting new friends. Then (and this is the one I can’t wait to write) when he no longer has to wear his boots he will be given an extra special book. This time he will go to Dreamland and all of the people he has met over the years will throw him a big party and to celebrate that he no longer has to wear his boots and he will give his boots to a special baby starting their journey and help them along their way. Or that is the plan anyway….

Throughout the whole experience I have become stronger. I love my son and wouldn’t change him. Obviously I would prefer he didn’t need to suffer now but I do think it is making him grow into a wonderful strong willed little boy. He has embraced his brace with a smile on his face. Nothing can stop him!

I have met some wonderful people too. Thank you to Bex for starting Happy Feet I have made some great friends. We have regular get togethers to share experiences. I have laughed and cried and enjoyed watching our babies develop!

Who knows what the future will hold but we remain positive and focused. Keep Calm and wear boots and bars!

Good luck to everyone on their talipes journey

Catherine & Alex

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