As you cry most of today, please know your parents tried to avoid this day. We’ve been doing physical therapy since you were 3.5 months old, we’ve repositioned you every possible chance, done hours of tummy time, stretched diligently, and yet your little head still needs some help to grow the way it should.
Backing up, we noticed around your one month wellness appointment that your head was tilted to the right. I mentioned it to your pediatrician, and was told it didn’t mean anything at your age. At the two month wellness appointment, same thing. At three months, a friend/colleague of mine sent me a Facebook message and recommended that you come in for a Physical Therapy consult for torticollis. I was so thankful someone agreed with me that there was a tilt! We went in, and she agreed that you would benefit from PT. We noticed drastic improvement after the first 8 weeks of therapy, but your therapist confirmed my suspicions that your head still had some flattening on the right side. I called and requested an appointment with your pediatrician, and again she told me we should wait until you were 6-8 months to make a call on whether or not something else needed to be done… Baby girl, I did not listen to her – and requested we be sent to a specialist for a scan, which would let us know if you would benefit from a cranial band (more commonly known as a helmet). Requested probably sounds nicer than what I was, I was more than a little frustrated that she was not listening to me.
You and I went down a few weeks ago and long story short, you do need a helmet. Your Orthotist and the DO we have been going to see agree that it is because of how you grew while you were in the womb. When I was on bed rest, your head always showed up on the weekly ultrasounds in the same place. They think that as you grew, you grew with your right ear bent toward your shoulder(causing the torticollis), as well as with your head pressed up against my pelvis. This caused the back of your head to be flattened on the right side, which is called plagiocephaly. And because of the torticollis, as you have grown, it has put more pressure on that part of your head which contributes to the plagiocephaly.
They measured your head with a scanner, and that gave us measurements in millimeters of two diagonals (front left to back right, and the opposite). Normal variance between these numbers is 0-6 mm. You have a difference of 10.9 mm, considered in the low end of the moderate range. If we were to ignore this and not treat you for the plagiocephaly or the torticollis, it could lead to developmental issues down the road, not to mention making wearing glasses difficult! Right now, you are hitting your milestones dead on, and we would really love to keep it that way! Treating you with the helmet is the best option not only cosmetically, but developmentally and physically. It will help avoid issues with your neck, back, vision, and even eyes and ears.
So down we went yesterday to see the Orthotist to get your fancy new headpiece. You will be wearing your helmet 23 hours a day, with one hour off each day to take a bath/go swimming (whichever we choose to do that day!). It is estimated that you will need to wear it for anywhere from 3-5 months. Obviously, we are praying for 3 months! It provides gentle pressure against the areas of your head that are more prominent, which they call the “bossed” areas. It leaves space to grow where you are still flat.
Today has been rough on you, as you don’t understand why you suddenly have this thing on your head. Over the next 5 days we will ease you into it until you are in it for those 23 hours/day. Your Momma is emotional, but thankful that this is something we are able to treat, and that we caught it when we did (and thankful that your Daddy reminds me of that frequently!). The older you get, the harder it is to treat this with success. The older you get.. The easier it will be for you to figure out how to take it off by yourself. We will continue with physical therapy and seeing an osteopathic doctor. Both of those ladies will help us make sure that this is as beneficial as possible!
We love you, bug. Hopefully, when you look back on pictures of you in the helmet, you will laugh at how squishy it made your cheeks look!!
One day at a time we will get you through the helmet, just like we got through bed rest 🙂
Looking at how your head *should* look.
Daddy was the absolute best at keeping you busy!
Not so sure about this whole idea.
Food is a great distraction.