Christiaan Oosthuizen is a 5 month old baby boy and the youngest of nine children.
He lives with his family in Pretoria. Christiaan’s mom Jorika says, “Christiaan is the youngest of 9 children. He has four brothers and four sisters. They all adore him and initially I had to set a stopwatch to make sure they all had equal time holding their brother! They all agree that there isn’t a prettier or cuter baby than him. He gets so much love and acceptance.”
His six-year-old brother, Simeon, said to Jorika one morning, “Mom, you must tell the hospital not to put a cast on this week, because it makes him very heavy.”. He hadn’t realised that his brother had grown and put on some weight.
Christiaan is the first of Jorika’s children born with clubfoot.
Jorika says, “Our clubfoot journey began when we had the 20 week ultrasound. They could clearly see that his left foot was a clubfoot. Because we knew beforehand that Christiaan had clubfoot and knew that it was a treatable condition, we didn’t feel shocked or upset. The early discovery of this condition made it possible to prepare ourselves thoroughly for what we were going to face and what the treatment and the road ahead entailed. Our research led us straight to the Ponseti method and it was very informative to read about him as a person and watch his videos on YouTube. He truly was a remarkable man.”
“Our first appointment was when Christiaan was 5 weeks old at Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s clubfoot clinic. Often treatment will start when babies are only a few days old, but in our case, we started at five weeks of age (which was okay, since he was born six weeks premature). The staff at the clubfoot clinic are very friendly and comforting, and made us feel welcomed and loved. We met Ivy from Steps at that very first appointment and it gave us so much peace of mind to know that there would be someone to go alongside us during our journey. She has been of immense help when we felt unsure about certain things.”
“Initially it was definitely an adjustment to get used to the cast on Christiaan’s leg. We couldn’t bath him and we always had to make sure we supported the leg when we picked him up or put him down. We felt very sorry for him because it looked so uncomfortable. However, whenever I felt discouraged, I would go and read up some more on the process and would be reassured by the high success rate of treatment.”
“I first found out about Steps doing my research on clubfoot and was happy to meet our Steps parent adviser at the clinic. I think Steps is a wonderful organization and the help and support we get is of immense value. I could always freely contact the Steps clinic coordinator with any questions or concerns and she would always provide answers and peace of mind.”
“It is important to bear in mind that clubfoot treatment through the Ponseti method is highly successful. It takes time and to see your little baby with casts on can be upsetting at times. It looks so uncomfortable and I would wonder if the cast bothered him. But with every cast removal, we could see a definite difference and that made it all worthwhile. We took pictures after every cast removal and it was amazing to see how the foot started to turn into the correct position. Our family is extremely grateful for the time and effort that everyone at the clinic is putting in to help Christiaan.”
“My advice to other families starting this journey is to see every clinic visit, every cast, every hour in the clubfoot brace as a step forward to give your child the opportunity to one day enjoy the full use of their feet. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take courage and keep to the plan. Remain hopeful, the day will come when it is all over and done.”