Sunday, May 13, 2012

The dreaded helmet

Plagiocephaly. Your daughter needs a helmet. Flat spot. Ears not aligned. All phrases you don't ever want to hear from your pediatrician. And guess who heard them. That's me. 

I heard all these phrases at Elsie's 6 month doctor appointment, the first pediatrician appointment I went to solo. Jeff had a class. So in addition to me being the bad guy with shots, now I am receiving this news solo. Awesome. I received 2 pieces of paper from the nurse, apparently they were prescriptions, for 2 different companies and had to figure out what to do. It felt like the world stopped at that moment. I knew Jeff would be home in a few hours, but I have no patience when it comes to my daughter. I immediately set up 2 appointments, one for Friday and one Monday, then started my research. I'm one of those people that needs all information possible. I'm not good with, "let's just see how it goes." I want to know and understand it all. Especially with Elsie. 

So I did my research (at least 3 hours worth) read all about plagiocephaly, helmets, how they measure, what they do, how much, why they need it, you name it, I read it. But I still had to wait till Friday for our first appointment. I can be patient at times, but this felt like forever! 

Friday comes and we visit Mark, the orthotist at Hanger. We immediately fall in love with him. He is amazing! He is very straight forward and lays down the facts for us. We love it. There is no fluff just facts which is what I needed. I already had a lot of info but I needed it to make sense and be put together. Mark did that for us. We found out that Elsie was born with torticollis, a fancy word for a tight neck. My OB talked about how Elsie was continuing to grow but my belly was not. Apparently when there gets decreased space in utero a tight neck can form. The Pediatrician gave us this 5 page packet on neck stretches around her 2 week visit,  which literally went right over my head as a new mom. I had so much going on with adjusting to baby, juggling family life, keeping the husband happy, the last thing on my plate was deciphering this stupid packet. 

 Well apparently I should have read/asked/deciphered the 5 pages. With torticollis, if the neck doesn't loosen up the baby can play favorites to the looser side. Sure enough, Elsie prefers the right side. But since this is all behind us now, what do we do now? Mark said "Head to shoulder, Chin to shoulder" Umm hello, where were you 6 months ago! 6 words vs 5 pages. Oh my. It is now my mission to tell all parents with their first child "Head to shoulder, chin to shoulder"

We knew right away that is who we wanted to go with, but since we had the last appointment Friday with him, and I scheduled the first appointment Monday with the other company, we couldn't cancel the other appointment. The other company was not impressive at all. I was talked down to the entire time, the lady spoke to Elsie the majority of the time in baby talk (pretty sure the parents will be the ones to make the decision, probably should talk to them in adult language) and they started talking about getting Elsie a second helmet! Hello! I am adjusting to getting the first one, let's not discuss a second one! Bottom line, we went with Hanger. Thank you Mark. 

Jeff does the measuring visit and fitting visits. I knew I'd be a nervous wreck and would do more harm then good. Jeff didn't seem to care so he willingly obliged. This was the first picture I received with the helmet: 

My heart sank immediately. My little girl didn't look like she did before. I had to adjust quickly as this helmet was going to be part of my life for a least a few months. After some reassuring words from a close friend who talked about how Elsie will be the poster child for helmets and how all parents would want a helmet because she pulls it off so well and how he little cheeks are so cute in it I was able to relax and know that this was only temporary and going to be well worth the ride. I found a blog that discussed how the mom could have been sad over the helmet or made it a joyous occasion. She choose to be happy, so from that moment on I did to. This helmet was part of Elsie. And it's just a few months. It'll fly by. (Later I will post my top ten reasons I love the helmet)

I've been big into bows and flowers for Elsie's hair, and I knew the helmet would need to be decorated. I made these 4 bows and have intermixed them based on her outfits. Everyone compliments her flowers. Definitely adds to the look (also helps that the helmet is pink) 

We went to the park one morning and did a little photo shoot of her different bows. I like them all :)

Time really has flown by for us and the helmet. Elsie has been quite the trooper. The first month we had LOTS of issues with her head not wanting to accept the helmet. Between allergic reactions and growth spurts it took us a full month to finally be wearing the helmet full time. Luckily we got the helmet on at the PERFECT time! She was at the beginning of this huge growth spurt, which lasted almost 2 months. In the first 2 months (and remember the first month we were not wearing it full time, just a few hours a day) she went from a 9mm difference to a 4mm difference. That is huge. They say anything less than 4 mm isn't noticed by the naked eye! Woo hoo! Go Elsie! We are hoping to be completely done with it May 29th. Cross your fingers that the helmet will be gone before summer is here! We want to swim!!

 Enjoying a baseball game with Nonno and Grandma Boo. Who needs baseball when a straw is closeby?

Still happy as can be! 

Balloons make this girl very happy!

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