Last Friday, I took Karis to see a specialist about her head shape. I was pretty sure of what the outcome would be. I mean, don’t all moms google before appointments and show up with an already formulated diagnosis and treatment plan?
No? Just me?
Anyways, based on photos and descriptions I’d seen from the medical sources on the internet, I was pretty sure she had plagiocephaly. Which is basically a fancy term for a wonky-shaped head. It is a result from spending too much time on her back (and in the swing), causing her head to widen and flatten out. She’s basically got an oval head. There is no real risk to her health or development. Unless you consider looking bad in hats a developmental issue. The course of action is to try repositioning (which we did), and then move towards an orthotic helmet.
Now there is always some controversy about doing something that could be painful for a child, just for the sake of how it might look. It’s an interesting decision to ponder – do you sacrifice some discomfort now to keep your child from potentially looking a little different later? Especially when this is a minor thing that poses no risk to their health?
Okay, enough talking about circumcision. Ba-dum-dum. Let’s get back to talking about plagiocephaly.
After I had confirmed my diagnosis with myself, I did what any other neurotic mom would do, and joined several online message boards about plagiocephaly. I wanted to learn about the different helmet options, so that I could
tell my doctor what to do suggest where my doctor might send us for a fitting. I expected to find some discussion about the types of helmets, how to decorate said helmets, and how to keep the skin clean, etc. What I found instead were many, many parents sharing how difficult this was for them, to have a child wearing a helmet. People were really devastated about the diagnosis. I started wondering if I should be, too. Thus far, I’ve been pretty indifferent about the whole thing. Was I under-reacting? Moi, the queen of being over-dramatic? Because really, wearing a helmet for a few months? Not that big of a deal in the scheme of things.
So I went to the appointment on Friday armed with a good understanding of the diagnosis, a clear decision on which band to choose, and a firm resolve that this was NO BIG DEAL. So maybe she wears a helmet for a few months. Big whoop.
Fast forward to me sitting in the office with the doctor, who pulls out the high-tech photos they have taken of every angle of Karis’s head, as she starts using words like “deformity” and “brain growth” and “brachiocephaly”. Zoom in on me, drama mom, who is quietly fighting back tears and resisting the urge to cry out, “No! Not my perfect baby! Noooooo!! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!!!”
By the way . . . passport photos of babies: totally freaking cute. Detailed medical photos of babies with asymmetrical demarcations: not cute. Not cute at all.That lasted for about five minutes, and then I sucked it up and regained my laissez-faire attitude about the helmet. Bottom line, Karis has exactly what I thought she had. She’s gonna need to wear an orthotic helmet for a few months to reshape her head.
It’s no big deal.