Elle's feet were in heavy casts from mid-thigh to the tips of her toes. Cradling her in the crook of my arm wasn't possible anymore; I had to hold her with great care. When someone generously offered to hold her, I was hesitant; it broke my heart that they might cringe at what they felt on her legs.
The casts were harsh looking. Rough. And 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.
We both cried every Thursday when the old plaster was cut off with a tiny but loud saw, only to be replaced with new wet plaster that would harden before we even reached the car.
For a day or so Elle would cry from soreness from the new adjustment - her soft bones being held in the new position, ligaments and tendons being stretched. We cried together. And sometimes, for me, it was a reminder of her tiny row of pink shoes standing at attention waiting to be worn.
Five weeks crawled by and the final set of casts were removed. Her feet, that I had missed holding in the palms of my hands, were resting in a neutral position, no longer turned up and inwards.
They were beautiful.