Cooper One Year Later

Last Sunday was Cooper’s first birthday. First birthdays are always somewhat bittersweet, especially for the mama. We celebrate an entire year that the Lord has given us with our child. We are joyful for the milestones they have reached and their growth and their health. But there is also a bit of sadness as we see our baby leave the days of infancy and move into toddlerhood.

This birthday was also a time of closure. As I look back over the last year of Cooper’s life, his birth and crippled feet seem lifetimes ago. He runs and grabs the bowl of dog food quicker than I can get to him, and gone are my fears of him not walking. He kicks his feet in protest of getting his diaper changed, and gone are the worries that he won’t be a normal little boy. He toddles to me and lifts his hands for me to pick him up, and gone is the sadness that filled our hearts just one year ago.

It seemed only fitting that for his birthday, he should get a pair of shoes.

How the Lord is working all for good…

Beyond the blessings Cooper has brought to our lives, I believe the Lord is also using Cooper’s story to bless others. Last month my mother, who is working as an OB nurse, noticed one of the patient’s was due to have her baby on Cooper’s birthday, April 1st. As my mom was looking at the patient’s records, she realized that a sonogram had revealed that the baby had club feet.

My mom began to talk with the lady about her grandson Cooper, who was also born on April 1st with club feet. She passed along my website to a very grateful couple. I hope that they have found their way here and are encouraged by Cooper’s story. I pray that they will be further encouraged by the Lord.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

1 Corithians 1:25-31

Cooper’s First Steps

It is always exciting when your little ones take their first steps. It doesn’t matter how many times I experience seeing a child stand up, let go, and wobble along, I am always overcome by a mix of emotions. There is joy and thankfulness, that the Lord has blessed this child and it has grown and flourished. There is a bit of bittersweet sadness, knowing that the “baby” season for this child is coming to an end.

A couple of weeks ago, our baby Cooper ventured out into toddlerhood as he took his first steps. And while I certainly felt all the emotions I had experienced with our other children, there was another element playing on my heart as I watched him walk.

I stood watching the goodness of God being bestowed upon my child. I stood in awe of the gift of walking that was given to my child. I remembered the little feet I rubbed the night he was born, twisted and turned. And now I see these same feet, pitter pattering across my wooden floors.

God is good, all the time!

Cooper’s Story – More Detailed Info on Club Feet part 1

I have started to get traffic coming to my website looking for information on club feet, so I have decided to write out Cooper’s story in more detail. I am hoping that it will be of some help to others out there going through the same situation.

As believers, the Lord allows us to go through difficulties so that we may minister with love and understanding to others. I thank the Lord that He has given me an opportunity to tell our story. It is my prayer that those who need to hear it, would.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalm 139:14

My husband and I didn’t know that Cooper had club feet until after he was born. I had a sonogram done when I was approximately 6 months pregnant, but for some reason they didn’t catch it then. I must say that I am thankful they didn’t.

I guess there are pros and cons to knowing before hand. I just know myself, and I know that my imagination would have taken me to every worst case scenario. I would have worried over things I had no control over.

I had an excellent birth at home. I remember bringing Cooper up to my chest to nurse him when I noticed his little feet were bent. As I think back to those moments, I just remember thinking to myself that he must have been squished up in my womb. I don’t know why, but I just assumed that his feet would straighten out on their own (just like their squished up noses and ears do).

I heard myself say, “oh, his feet are crooked”, but in my mind I still didn’t register that something was wrong with them. I don’t know if it was all the hormones rushing through my body, or if it is true that a mother’s love is blind, but I really couldn’t see or comprehend that my child was crippled.

The night that Cooper was born, my midwife was very kind and reassuring. She kept telling us not to worry that we would just wait and see. The next day she brought me some papers she had printed out that explained what club foot was.

It was at that moment that it hit me…this was more serious than I thought. It seemed almost instantaneous. Thoughts started swirling in my head. Cooper would need to be seen right away so that treatment could begin as soon as possible.


This is Cooper right before his first casts. He always kept his feet snuggled up close to his bottom.

We took Cooper to a pediatric doctor within a few days of his birth. I remember being upset at the nurse because she kept trying to stretch out his feet to measure him. I told myself that I was going to have to stand up for him even though I don’t like rocking the boat. I told her firmly that he had club feet and to please not stretch them out.

The pediatric doctor agreed with our self-diagnosis and referred us to a pediatric orthopedic doctor.  My husband had briefly did a bit of research on club foot and treatment options.  It seemed like the best treatment option would be the Ponsetti method.  There were only two doctors on the website listed for Texas.  We were doubtful that our insurance would cover one of these doctors.  As it turned out, one of the doctors listed was the only one our insurance would cover…and he was located in Houston, 1 1/2 hours away!

Ponsetti Method

Cooper with his casts on.

The Ponsetti Method of treatment uses casts to gently turn the feet.  Each week, plaster casts are applied from the baby’s toes to their thighs.  Before applying the casts, the doctor gently massages the baby’s feet, loosening them up, then stretching them slightly to the desired position.

Note:  It is best if baby is as calm and relaxed as possible.  I tried to always make sure Cooper was fed and changed before hand.  I don’t think if hurts the baby at all.  But when they are this little (2 weeks old), having someone mess with their feet and legs startles them.  Also, the cast are cold when applied and heat up as they set, so this can unnerve a newborn as well.

The casts are changed out each week, moving the feet a little more each time.  At the end of 5-6 weeks, the feet should be in a straight position with the toes pointing down.  At this time, the baby will need to have surgery to cut the tendon in the back of the ankle.  This releases the foot so that it can move up to a flexed position.

After surgery, casts are applied for 3 weeks as the tendon heals.  Once the final cast are removed, the baby is required to wear braces (think hiking boots with a bar between them) to keep the feet in the correct position.  Initially, the baby will wear the braces 23 hours a day.  After a few months, baby will cut down on the amount of time spent in the braces until he only wears them at night to sleep.

Removing the Casts

The casts that were applied to Cooper’s legs were plaster casts.  Our doctor had us remove his casts at home each week before we arrived at his office.  I am not sure why, I know some doctors will have them cut off at the cast clinic.  At first I didn’t like removing them myself, but it quickly became a routine.

There were some benefits to removing them at home:
~Cooper was able to take a bath each week!
~I was able to snuggle him without his cast on, even if it was only a bit each week.
~The cast cutters are very noisy and tend to scare the little ones.  Not what you want when you need them to be calm and relaxed.

Thankfully Jamie was with me the first time we removed his casts.  The doctor had instructed us to soak his legs in the bath, then start unraveling the cast (as they put on the cast, they left a tab at the end).  It took us over 2 hours to get the casts off and Cooper was not happy AT ALL.  After a few times, I eventually got it down to about 45 mins-1 hour. 

What worked for us…

I went to Walgreens and bought some surgical scissors with a blunt end.  On the morning of our appointment, I would take warm washclothes and wrap them around the casts.  Then I would cover them with press-n-seal.  This kept the moisture in.  I left the washclothes on for several hours so that the cast would soften up.  Once they were soft, I would start at the top and very carefully cut a notch into the cast.  I would then take my hands and tear apart the cast as far as I could.  Then cut another notch, and tear a little more.

This method is very hard on the hands, but it worked.

Right off hand, I can’t think of anything I wish I had known, but I am sure something will come to mind.  I will try to post a follow up to this with any other tips or info I think might be helpful.  If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to help you along.

God bless all those who have been given a special treasure from the Lord!

A Love That Knows No Barriers

From the moment he was born, Cooper has been different than my other children in so many ways.  He is such a sweet baby and he just melts my heart.  There are times, though, that my heart hurts over Cooper.  Sometimes the reason is very clear, like when he had to wear his casts, or have surgery. 

But then there are other things that I would have never thought of.  For instance, I love my babies’ feet.  I love to lay them in my lap and hold on to their feet and play games.  I love to rub the soft souls against my cheeks and kiss their little toes.   With Cooper I missed this terribly.  His entire leg, from the top of his thigh to the tips of his toes were covered by his casts.

Another thing that has been particularly hard has been not being able to carry him as much as I would like.  His braces make it difficult to set him on my hip, or place him in a baby carrier.  I have to ask siblings to hold him much more than I would like.  And when I do get to hold him, I can’t snuggle him up close very easily.  

My other children all slept in our bed until the next baby arrived.  Cooper doesn’t sleep well with me, nor do I sleep well with him.  If I move and bump him, both feet move and cause his entire body to move.  And his braces poke into my as I sleep.

I was thinking about all these things today, lamenting the fact that I couldn’t show my love to Cooper the way I would like to.  My heart was so heavy, because I love this little boy so much and I just felt like there was a barrier between us that preventing me from loving him the same way I did my other kids.

It was then that the Lord put this verse on my heart.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

There was a barrier between me and God, and that barrier was my sin. I was an enemy to God, and yet, His love for me was so great that He sent His son, Jesus to die for my salvation.

God loves us, not in a fuzzy, feel good kind of way, but rather a deep, unconditional, “come to serve rather than be served” kind of way.

Love is an act of servitude.

I shouldn’t try to love Cooper like I loved on my other kids because he is not my other kids. He has different needs and I should love him by meeting his needs, not my own.

So when I place him in his bassinet each night, I am loving him completely. I am giving him the gift of a good nights rest. He wakes up in the mornings cooing and smiling and happy as can be.

I have never been a schedule type mom, but Cooper thrives on a schedule. By laying down my desire to go with the flow, and keep a schedule for his sake, I am showing him love.

And each day, for one hour, I get to take off his braces and rub his feet, and place them on my cheeks and kiss his little toes. And I get to love him just how he needs to be loved.

This post is linked up at

Update on Cooper

Don’t you just love it when you spend an hour on a post and the somehow *poof* its gone.  Well, here is a shorter version of the post I tried to write several days ago.

My Cooper Booper got his final casts off last week.  He has now graduated to big boy braces.  He has to wear his braces 23 hours a day for the next 3 months, then he will gradually wear them less and less until he is only wearing them at night and naptime.

New feet, still a bit swollen from his casts

Cooper's new braces

He has been such a trooper through all of this.  What a joyful spirit he has, waking up cooing and smiling!  He very rarely fusses, but when he does I take off his braces and rub his feet and he is all smiles.  He loves his feet rubbed!

He has learned to kick his feet in unison, as the bar on his braces keeps his feet from moving independently.  He still hasn’t rolled over yet, and seems like it might be difficult to do with his braces on.  I guess time will tell…he may be the next Harry Houdini.

I am so relieved to be done with the weekly castings, the long drives to Houston, and long days spent at the doctors office.  To be completely honest though, it seems like my days have gotten harder. 

 When Cooper was going through treatment, I was very focused and I knew what I needed to do to get through each week.  There was always the goal of finishing his treatment.  Now that he is finished, all the things I set aside during survival mode have now come to the forefront.

My husband – I haven’t seen my husband in over 2 months and really I just want to cry in his arms in relief.  I am so thankful to the Lord for all He has done in healing our baby boy.  It is absolutely overwhelming when I remember Cooper’s feet the evening he was born, and then look at them now.  What a MIGHTY God we serve!

Moving – There is still no word on where or when we will be moving.  There are so many blessing the Lord has poured out on us here in TX, but my human nature just wants to move ahead.  It is so hard to just be still and know that it will all happen in God’s timing.

All the little things that turn into big things when you don’t take care of them cause you are just trying to get through each day – like losing the baby weight, disciplining the kids, getting regular sleep, reading your Bible daily, keeping to some sort of schedule, getting something concrete accomplished each day.

So that’s where I am at right now.  Just trying to find “normal” again.  But where is normal anyway?

Cooper’s Cast


Our newest baby, Cooper, was born on April 1st of this year. The kids and I came to TX (from Spain) so that I could deliver the baby with a midwife. Jamie came down 2 weeks before Cooper was due. Our plan was for Jamie to stay a few weeks after the birth, then return to Spain. The kids and I would follow as soon as Cooper’s passport arrived.

When Isaac was born, we had trouble getting his birth certificate, and subsequently his passport, because we had him at home unassisted. The midwife assured me that we would be able to get the baby’s birth certificate within a week of his birth. The passport would only take a few weeks after that.

We were set.

We had a plan, our plan.

Little did we know, our plans would change…

Cooper’s Birth

The midwife arrived around 4:00pm on April 1st, one day past Cooper’s due date. Labor was sporadic, so she suggested I take a walk to get things moving along. I labored both standing and swaying, and reclining on a bench. The labor was longer than most of my other labors, but the Lord blessed me with calmness and relief. At 8:19pm, our sweet baby boy entered the world and we were in love. I laid him on my chest and thanked the Lord for another treasure He had bestowed upon us.

I didn’t notice right away, and even when I did, I didn’t realize there was anything really wrong with Cooper. His legs were curled up under his bottom with his feet turning in. I don’t know why, but at the time I just thought that he had been squished up in my belly and needed time to stretch out a bit. In my eyes, he was perfect.

It wasn’t until the next day when the midwife came over for our check-up, that I knew Cooper was crippled. The midwife was so gentle and kind when she suggested that I have him seen right away. She thought he had club feet. Immediately something clicked in my brain and could see, why yes, he does have club feet.

Cooper’s Treatment

We saw the pediatrician that first week of Cooper’s life.  He referred us to a specialist in Houston who treats club feet using the Ponseti method.  When Cooper was 2 weeks old, we began treatment.  Each week, we see the doctor, who massages the baby’s feet and moving them to a slightly new position.  Plaster casts are applied from his toes to the tops of his thighs, holding his feet in place.  He has worn these cast for 6 weeks now.  Next week he will have surgery.  The doctor will release the tendons in the back of his heels, allowing his feet to move from a pointed position to a standing position.

After surgery, he will be in a cast for 3 more weeks while the tendon heals in a stretched position.  The casts will be removed and he will then wear a brace until he is 5 years old.  (The first 3 months he will wear it all the time, then afterwards only at night.)

I am so thankful to the Lord for all He has done and all He has provided.  He brought us here to the states to have the baby.  He provided a wonderful home, through the hands of my gracious aunt.  He put us in a place within driving distance of a wonderful doctor.  He has truly supplied all our needs.

A Change in Plans

Cooper is almost 2 months old now and we are still here in TX.  Jamie is back in Spain.  I miss my husband.  My father-in-law said it best though…”you’re not alone, cause Jesus is with you”.  Yes, Jesus is with me, walking by my side, even carrying me when I fall. 

Our plans have changed.  We don’t know when we will go back to Spain, or if we will go back.  We are waiting to find out if the Air Force is going to move us to another base here in the states.  All we know is that the Lord has us right where He needs us. 

And through it all, the Lord is molding us.  Just as Cooper’s feet are molded by his casts, we are being molded by the hands of God.  He is taking the crippled and broken, and making it beautiful and whole.  He is sanctifying us and molding us into the people He needs us to be–people that love Him above all else, people that lean on Him in times of trouble, people that trust Him and know that He is good all the time!

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Isaiah 64:8