Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Plagio Baby

Well, well, well.... the day no Momma wants to experience came and I managed to keep living.

Back story: About 3 weeks old, I had crazy freak out day way back, when I was feeding Cade and saw that one ear looked different than the other. I drove him up to my mom's school and had her nurse and coworkers check him out. At the time I thought maybe there was an ear infection. At his month check up I asked the dr about one side of his head that seemed a little flatter. The pediatrician recommended switching sides of the crib when I put him down at night. At his second month check-up she was a bit more concerned about his head shape and recommended being more aggressive about his positioning when laying down or sitting to keep him off his right side. I moved his swing, bought a special Boppy Noggin Nest pillow, and used a rolled receiving blanket to position his head in his crib.

Back to present. On Wednesday we had a consultation appt at Cranial Technologies. They took several pictures from various angles of his head and face. They measured his head and did some neck stretches and diagnosed him with plagiocephaly. Definition: "a malformation of the head marked by an oblique slant to the main axis of the skull." AKA "Flat head syndrome"........Um, did someone use "syndrome" and my baby's name in the same sentence??

It's Greek to me! Plagio = oblique,cephale = head..Check out this image from According to the site & experts, external forces put pressure on the soft plates in an infant's head, causing them to flatten out on the preferred side.

I've seen babies in helmets before. And no, for the record, I'm not an asshole who thinks the baby is clumsy, the mom drops her kid, or whatev else ignorant fools must think. Okay, I was semi-ignorant and thought the helmet was for a cosmetic issue. I understood. Nobody wants a baby conehead. I went to school with some coneheads and while we didn't tease them, we noticed Oblong Ollie and Elliptical Eddie. kidding.

Turns out plagiocephaly/flat head occurs during utero OR (as my pediatrician says) happy, big headed babies have a preference for one side. Yep, that would be my kid. 90th percentile in head size and happy as hell. The kid knows what he wants, and it's to look at the world over his right shoulder.

I'm camo-ing my feelings by being blase. It's because I want to cry at the irrational mommy thoughts "Does his flat head hurt him? Will the helmet be hot? Will people stop complimenting my gorgeous sweet angel baby? How long will he actually need to be in it? I hope Nick doesn't make it into a Nebraska helmet! Will insurance pay? Arggh!" This is a problem though... Medically having a flat side to your head means that the other side of your head is pushed out. It can result in malformation of the ear tubes, sinuses, jaw, etc. The pictures of him show that the round side of his head is stretching one eye, causing it to be more slanted than the other. (Mommy didn't cheat with the Asian milkman either!...okay, sick joke..I do that when I'm uncomfortable)

So, the clinician predicts that Cade will need to be in a band-style helmet about 8-12 weeks. DOC band, to be precise... there are several types out there. DOC is pretty well rated by parents, and FDA approved as a Class II orthotic. It's a 6 oz plastic shell lined with foam that is custom-fit to each baby. To get fitted apparently Cade gets to be pretty high-tech. There's a head stocking that stretches over his head, takes measurements, and sends it digitally to a printer that prints a 3-D "headsicle" (head on a stick) by which his orthotic will be molded. (imagine the technology Angelina used to get digitized for TombRaider). Hopefully digital Cade is just as cute as real Cade.
Right now we're waiting to see what craptastic teacher insurance will pay for. It's $3,600 for the helmet and the weekly, yes weekly, therapy appointments. (Cade will be evaluated for torticollis-- basically a tight, malformed neck muscle that makes it more comfy for babies to have their chin angled towards one shoulder) After the fitting it will take 2 more weeks for the helmet to made in fabulous Arizona, then he begins his journey towards round head mecca.
I'm hoping the journey is short & sweet & successful! I'm currently searching for cool ways to decorate the helmet. Again, we must not leave it to Daddy lest we have an Aggie baby in a Nebraska helmet. And everyone knows, red and marroon are just wrooonggg.

1 comment:

  1. Hilary,

    My other friend's little girl is in a helmet currently for the same thing. Check out her blog, she decorated it so adorably and talks about it too, you might be able to talk to her about the feelings etc that are probably racing through your head..

    Check it out.


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