Spiral Femoral Fracture & How To Deal…

A little over eight months ago, Lincoln broke his femur. To think it’s been 8 months, blows my mind! I never thought we’d survive that 6 weeks of recovery {on top of the arrival of Wyatt} but, we did it! Huge shout out to my parents, in-laws, siblings, friends, God, etc., for all of the help. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

Before I get into the helpful tangibles, I want to say, if you are reading this, and your toddler has a broken femur, or leg, or bone, or whatever. I’m sorry! It is going to be hard. You are going to have good days, and bad days. They are going to continue to be a toddler. That means, attitude, temper tantrums, wanting to do everything by themselves. The first week or two, you pity them, and nothing seems to bother you, But then, you get back into the swing of things. You realize that although traumatizing, they are going to be okay, and you return back to your normal parenting style. Lincoln got in trouble, he got yelled at, we told him no. It was extremely important to Jason and I, that this injury didn’t turn our child into a monster. Was it hard? Absolutely. Did I cry? Too often. I felt horrible for him. He would get so frustrated trying to move sometimes, or get things by himself. But, throwing, biting, kicking and screaming, still were not acceptable ways for him to behave. Once Wyatt was born {exactly two weeks after the leg break,} we were faced with another struggle; dealing with a jealous toddler, one who also had a broken leg. Needless to say, button were pushed, lessons were learned, and we all survived. In my opinion, I think we did one hell of a job.

I was completely lost when we brought Lincoln home. I was paranoid he was going to hurt himself, scared I wouldn’t be able to take care of him with my big belly, and anxious thinking about how I was going to entertain a very active {almost} two-year old. I googled and searched for ideas, but ultimately was left to fend for myself. Between my mom, MIL, and myself, Lincoln, and I, had anything & everything that we needed to make his recovery as pain-free as possible. I thought I would share our survival kit.

TOYS

At first, keeping Lincoln busy was super easy, but as the days went by, and he started to become more mobile, it became harder and harder to find things to keep him entertained. {While the doctors didn’t mind him rolling and scooting, they preferred we keep him as immobile as possible. Easier said than done.} Some days, I could tell he was so bored, but we did our best to change up the variety.

Stickers-I can’t even tell you how many stickers we went through in that six-week time period. What can I say, kids love stickers! This  Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad: My Town - 200+ Stickers and 5 Scenes  is great because it allows your kiddo to create a story, and re-use the stickers. We had a similar one for Lincoln, and he loved it! He loves animals, so I searched for anything and everything that had to do with animals, and it was instant success!

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He always had his Little People with him. This was before he was able to sit up, so playing was a little more difficult for him.

Coloring books-I know, I know. You’re thinking, huge mess, not worth it. You’re right, except some genius created no mess coloring books for toddlers! This Paw Patrol version didn’t last long for Lincoln {because he colored all over every single page as soon as he got it} along with a half-dozen others! Highly recommend these even if you don’t have a toddler with a broken leg!
Puzzles-Lincoln has always loved puzzles. We had a ton before he broke his leg, and accumulated quite a few more to give him some variety during his recovery. This farm puzzle was {and still is} one of his favorites!

Fine Motor Skill Boards-How trendy does that sound? Trust me. Once you see this activity board from Melissa & Doug, you’ll jump on the bandwagon! This was such a great activity for Lincoln, and although he struggled with some of the activities at first, after a little guidance, he was able to teach himself how to use it without any help at all!
Playdoh-Pretty self-explanatory. Lincoln has a version of this construction truck and is obsessed with it. Lots to do with Playdoh. Colors, shapes, molds. Great for killing time. If you’re super domestic, you can make your own playdoh!
Blocks-Lincoln loves building things, and a broken leg surely didn’t stop him. He and Jason spent so much time playing with these blocks from Melissa & Doug.Fisher Price: Little PeopleWe had a small collection of Little People, but during that 6 weeks, we accumulated A LOT more. Lincoln has such a sweet imagination, and he has always loved playing with his little figurines. We have too many to list, but here are a few of his favorites: Noah’s ArkFarm, and Big Animal Zoo.

*Not listed; tv and iPad. He watched A LOT of tv. I mean, a lot. It was easy & was a nice break for all of us. He loves the iPad {what kids don’t…} and I was able to find some educational apps, which he really loved!

MEAL TIME

I’d like to start out with an embarrassing fact. We {I} didn’t realize that Lincoln fit in his high chair, until roughly, 5 days before he was due to get it off. I assumed he wouldn’t fit, and never even attempted to put him in the darn chair. I take full responsibility for this, and acknowledge that it would have made our lives SO MUCH EASIER. But, ya live and ya learn, am I right? The first week home, Lincoln was unable to sit at a 90* angle. Therefore, eating and drinking was difficult. We propped pillows up behind him, and he sat on the floor, in front of our ottoman {see photo below.} We helped him eat, used sippy cups, and looking back, that week was really no trouble at all. After his one week checkup, the doctor immediately adjusted his brace to allow him to sit up, and it made meal time that much easier.

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This was how Lincoln ate all of his meals. He loved it; so much, in fact, that it was quite a tough transition going back to his high chair after his brace came off.

Eating/Coloring Tray-We had some cool old school trays from my MIL, but this Mickey Tray would have been a huge hit, since we love all things Mickey Mouse in this house {or at least Lincoln does.} It was great for eating, and coloring. Even when he wasn’t able to fully sit up, the tray came in handy.
Sippy Cups-We didn’t really have much issue with cups. Lincoln has been using these Gerber Sippy Cups for what seems like, ever. He can lay down and use them, sit up and use them. We still use them. Big fans.
Bibs-Toddlers are messy eaters, and that’s true when they are contained in a high chair. When they aren’t in a high chair, it’s basically like a food fight. This was probably one of my biggest struggles. I hate messes. Like, I might have OCD, that’s how much I hate them. {I realize I have two boys and my house will never be clean again, but that’s besides the point.} I ordered these washable bibs from Amazon, and really liked them. But, I highly recommend the OXO Tot bib, and wish I had purchased them a long time ago. Whether you’re dealing with a broken leg or not, it’s the best bib ever.

That’s basically it as far as mealtime went. We laid a blanket down on the ground, and towels around him during every meal. I’d rotate the towels and blankets out, but inevitably, he made a mess, and I just dealt with it. He’s a pretty clean eater, compared to some little children I’ve seen, so I consider myself lucky.

DAY TO DAY ITEMS/RANDOM

Bean Bag Chair-Although Lincoln didn’t utilize his very much {because he was able to sit up after his one week check-up}, we heard the doctors talk about how many patients LOVED having a bean bag to use. My suggestion, would be to make sure it’s not too stiff, that it can easily be molded any way you need it, otherwise it may be difficult for you little one to sit on. And of course, the obvious, don’t leave them on the bean bag, unattended. #duh

Stroller-Jason would take Lincoln on walks, quite often. It was a nice way to get him out of the house, without much difficulty. We have the Baby Jogger City Mini GT along with the Baby Jogger City Select and Lincoln fit in both of them without any issue. His leg was always supported and he seem comfortable in both strollers.

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This, this still breaks my heart. It was garbage day, and Jason brought Lincoln outside to watch the garbage men.

CarseatI was unable to find a link to our exact car seat, but this Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible car seat is the newer version of what we have. As soon as his brace was adjusted, and he was able to sit up straight, he fit perfectly in the carseat. Before his brace was adjusted, he laid in the back of the car, and I sat with him. We were given a harness, but are bad parents and didn’t use it because it was sort of a pain in the ass. Truth. But as I stated earlier, we didn’t do much traveling, even after he was able to sit up, because he didn’t fit in carts, or high chairs at restaurants, and because who takes a toddler with a broken femur out? Not us. We literally went to his doctors appointments, and that’s it.

Diaper ChangesHoly hell. The first diaper change, I cried. We had only been home from the hospital and hour or two, and were getting Lincoln ready for bed. To say I struggled, is an understatement. I don’t really have a great way to describe how I changed his diaper. I had to figure it out on my own. Each time got easier, less scary. It was so hard in the beginning because Lincoln was still in quite a bit of pain, and anytime I adjusted him, he’d cry. Like most things though, after the first week or two, it became just another thing I did. I could do it just as fast as before he broke his leg, and while poopy diapers became a new type of challenge, I consider myself a pro now. I realize this is not helpful, in the slightest, but I still felt the need to share.

Nap/Bed Time-Lincoln was still in a crib when this happened, so it was comforting to know that he wouldn’t be able to hurt himself during naps or in the middle of the night. He was having horrible nightmares from his pain meds, and slept with me the first week, because he was waking up constantly. He didn’t nap that first week either. Once he was off the pain meds though, bedtime {and nap time} were the same as they had previously been. We did our best to stick to our same routine, to help Lincoln transition smoothly. The biggest thing that changed, was that we didn’t have bath time. {Although, by the fifth week, we were able to take his brace off and give him real baths.} My advice, stick to your routine. If your little one isn’t in a crib, make sure they are sleeping on the floor, or on a mattress very low to the ground.

Shout Out

When we were give Lincoln’s diagnosis; spiral femoral fracture, I had NO idea what that meant, other than the obvious; I was 37 weeks pregnant & had a toddler with a broken leg. Spiral fracture? Okay….Basically, because his leg was in a twisting motion as the break occurred, it broke in multiple places {more or less splintering} and causing a spiral fracture. We learned, very quickly, that spiral fractures are often linked to child abuse cases. I’ll spare you to the DCFS stories. {Two separate counties, two cases, two agents, accusations, questioning, emotional roller coaster….}

We were SO lucky to have had the most spectacular Orthopedic Surgeon on call; Dr. Andrea Kramer. While most children would have required surgery and been put in a spica cast, Lincoln was put in a removable brace. {See photo below}

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This was the night we got home from the hospital. Three days, very little sleep, lots of tears. This kid was a champ, start to finish. I can’t wait to tell him all about this when he’s older. I know he’ll think it’s the coolest thing ever.

Dr. Kramer and David Speers, are the creators of this brace. They have written papers about this brace. They have given speeches, about this brace. They have won awards, because of this brace. How in the heck did WE end up crossing paths with them? I ask myself that question too often, and continue to thank my lucky stars that we did. Without question, we would have dealt with whatever was thrown our way, but if given the choice, I’d pick that brace over and over again. I’ve spoken with parents who experienced the spica cast, and they are openly jealous when I show them photos of Lincoln’s brace. It’s a constant reminder that things can always be worse. Although, in that moment, nothing seemed to top my baby lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg.

Although I personally, have thanked his nurses and doctors, and everyone in between, I wanted to thank them again. Dr. Kramer, David, the staff at Lutheran General & Centegra McHenry, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking such great care of my little boy. At the time, I questioned everything I was told, I didn’t believe any of you, when you said he’d be just fine. Now, obviously, foot in mouth, I can see and think clearly. I feel beyond blessed to have had the best care for Lincoln. Thank you for your patience, compassion, and knowledge.

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