Fixin' A FlatFixin' A FlatFixin' A FlatFixin' A Flat

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kieran got plastered...

We're home.  We're plastered.  We're back into waiting mode.

Kieran's helmet will be done in 2 weeks!

Our appointment went really well.  We met with our orthotist, Trevor, and had a chat about what we were told by the pediatrician and what we've done in terms of positioning.  He gave us the option of trying positioning for another 2 weeks and make our decision after that, or to just go ahead with things.

Another 2 weeks? Seriously, dude?  After trying the positioning techniques for almost 2 months, what is another 2 weeks going to do for us?  That means an extra trip to the big city, a day off work for John, and another 2 weeks of me biting my nails.  Did you see my nails, Trevor? Did you?

So we were left alone to talk.  But we already knew what we were going to do, so our talk lasted 3 seconds and we spent the next 9 minutes and 57 seconds bouncing our little dude and staring at the ugly yellow walls. That's right Sick Kids, your casting room walls are ugly.

The casting went really well.  Except for this part;

And taking the cast off, which we didn't get a picture of, but it closely resembled the above picture, plus a cast and minus John trying to cram the sucky down Kieran's throat.

We got some awesome news that the helmet only needs to be worn for upwards of 18 hours a day, instead of the dreaded 23.  Our little guy will get a bit of a break each day instead of just being free for tubby time.

So we head back on May 17th to pick it up and learn all about it and our real journey will begin.  It's gonna be a long, hot summer, kiddo.  Mommy apologizes profusely.

I'll upload some more pictures of the casting process to the 'Pictures' section.  Oh and I know I said the helmet is ready in 2 weeks but May 17th is 3 weeks's not because I can't add, it's because they're booked up for May 10th and are trying to bump someone out of their appointment to move us up.  We're that important.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Counting down...

We're off to Sick Kids tomorrow for Kieran's consult.  I can hardly wait - I'm sure if he knew what was going on he wouldn't feel the same. 

I'm feeling so much better about all of this.  The mommy guilt has officially subsided, and has been replaced with worry.  What if our insurance company decides that they aren't going to cover it?  We'll be $1500 in the hole. I know it's for our kid, and we'd do anything for him, but holy crow that's a lot of green.  I can buy a hockey helmet and create my own pressure points for a lot less, right? 

Maybe not so much.

Anyway, wish us luck! My nails are counting the minutes until I stop biting them in anticipation.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anticipation and other news...

Well it's officially less than one week away from our consult, and I'm going nuts in anticipation. 

Kieran, on the other hand, appears to have other things on his mind, like when his next meal is coming and how long he can go without pooping.

I've been wracking my brain about how we're going to decorate the helmet.  I've seen so many great ideas online, but I'm so artistically challenged it's not even funny.  I don't get it - I come from a family of artistes.  My sister and mom are amazing, they can do anything.  My dad can draw pirate ships.  I can draw stick figures with bows in their hair and paint crooked rainbows.  Neither of which I think Kieran will want on his head.

I think I'm going to spam a bunch of vehicle wrap companies, sell them our sob story, and hope they'll help us out.   If 360 Wraps can do it, any other company should be able to, right?  I'll give it a shot.  Keep your fingers crossed for this artistically challenged mama.

In other news, Kieran's officially started eating solids! I say "officially" because he's had tastes of things here and there for about the last month, but nothing consistently, and it's usually stuff that's been snuck to him by his Gran that he really shouldn't have been eating.  He's still alive though, so I guess it was okay. 

You tell our doctor about any of this and I'll find you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wave number two...

It bothers me when people say his head isn't that flat.  It shouldn't, I should be elated, but it does. 

It makes me question our decision to have him fitted for the helmet.  It makes me question the competence of our pediatrician.  It makes me question my eyesight.

I keep second guessing myself.  Are we doing the right thing?  Should we just let him grow up the way he is? He's perfect in our eyes anyways, flat head or not.

If we do that, will he hate us for not fixing it? Can he wear a baseball cap like his daddy? Will he be able to shave his head without looking like a dork? Will other kids make fun of him?

What if it gets better on it's own? What if it gets worse?

I'm seriously driving myself insane because of those few little words.  I'd love for someone just to say "You know what, it is pretty flat.  You're doing the right thing." And all would be good in the world again.

I swear there won't be any more posts like this.  I'm just going through another wave of mommy guilt!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Party like it's 2010...

It's a party! Everyone's invited! Bring your kids! ('d have to see the commercial to get it...but it's me)

Kieran's bringing cupcakes.

I'm bringing vodka.

We're celebrating the fact that we officially have a consult with Sick Kids! April 26th can't come fast enough.

We're also celebrating the Ultimate Blog Party 2010.
Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I've got my eye on a paypal gift certificate.  Look out Ebay, here comes mama.

5 Months! Holy Crow!

I'm a day late in doing this, but better late than never, right?

It's been 5 months (and 1 day) since Kieran was born.  I'm amazed at how quickly time passes us by.  It makes me want to grab life just the way it is and stick it in a bottle.

He's growing so fast - more than twice the weight he was when he was born and half my body length.  He babbles now, he can almost sit on his own, he tries to hold his own bottle.  Two days ago he got his first tooth.  Yesterday he ate applesauce.  I want to stick him in that bottle too.

It's been challenging, exciting, messy, funny, scary, amazing, and so, so rewarding.  I can't wait to see what the next 5 months brings us.

(Oh yea, check this out...tummy time success!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Plagiocephaly as a red flag...

I found this article today in the Toronto Sun and thought it was interesting.  Our pediatrician doesn't believe that Kieran has suffered any developmental delays because of his noggin or that he's at risk for any delays either, but others might not be so lucky.

Flat-headed babies on the rise
Last Updated: March 8, 2010 5:42am

"Are flat heads in babies a sign of genius or a sign of the times? Centuries ago, the shape of a baby's head would indicate certain traits and talents, but today's parents often think their baby has something wrong with it if its head is not perfectly formed. And the fact is, flat-headed babies are on the rise. According to experts, the "back-to-sleep" movement that's been prominent worldwide in the past decade, a successful movement designed to protect babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, has resulted in an increased number of babies with flat heads.

That increase, coupled with our society's unfortunate focus on body image, has troubled some parents enough to send them to clinics that fit their flat-headed babies with helmets that have to be worn 23.5 hours a day; months of helmet-use encourages baby's head to grow into a socially desirable round shape.

Flat-headedness even has a medical term -- plagiocephaly — and until recently the condition was assumed to be of cosmetic concern only. But last month, results of a study of babies with the condition indicated that plagiocephaly might be a red flag for early neuro-devlopmental disadvantage, says researcher Dr. Matthew Speltz.

The clinical psychologist from the Seattle Children's Research Institute says that the so-called "disadvantage" he refers to is in the area of motor skills: In other words, up to one-quarter of the babies with flat-heads in his study were a little behind in their motor or movement skills compared to babies whose heads were not flat.

Speltz prefers the term positional plagiocephaly because the babies' flat heads are caused in part by their spending so much time on their backs ' sleeping in cribs, lying back in car seats and carriages.

"There's been a dramatic rise in positional plagiocephaly since the 1990s," he says. That coincides with the campaigns that urged parents to put their babies on their backs to sleep in order to protect them from SIDS.

In the 1970s, one in 300 infants had plagiocephaly, but by 2006 as many as one or two out of 10 babies had the condition.

"That increase, to all of us, is a small price to pay for the reduction in SIDS," says the pediatric researcher. "Many parents and doctors in the past dismissed it as a cosmetic issue, but our study suggests that we should look deeper."

Speltz and his team studied six-month old infants with and without flat heads, measured their skulls and assessed each using a respected scale of infant development. The flat-headed babies performed worse on their motor skills than the control subjects by an average of 10%.

"It's not that deformational or positional plagiocephaly causes neuro-developmental delay," explains Speltz. 'It's more that it's a marker of an elevated risk for delays."

Because babies who have flattened areas in the back of the head during the first year may be at risk for developmental delay, Speltz feels that pediatricians "should monitor closely the development of infants with this condition."

He says that it may be that flat-headed infants who show motor developmental delays will simply catch up with normal-headed babies by the time they're a year old and sitting up and moving more. (His team is in the process of examining that.)

"We need to look at their development down the road," he says.

"We don't want parents to think that flatness causes delay — it's more an associated feature that may be a red flag. We want parents to continue to put babies to sleep on their backs. We hope that doctors will simply be more vigilant as to potential motor issues because early intervention is key and quite effective."

Baby helmet heads
The Clarren Helmet, used to treat uneven head shapes in babies, was invented at the Seattle Children's Hospital in 1979. The helmet, worn 23.5 hours daily from three to eight months in total, is designed so that the child's pliable head grows into the molded shape of the helmet. Pediatric researcher Dr. Mathew Speltz says that about 30% of parents whose babies have been diagnosed with plagiocephaly choose a helmet treatment for their babies. There are also other techniques used, including certain head bands.

Is your baby's head flat? 
Remember that flat spots in a young baby's head can be common and by itself is no cause for alarm. Infants' skulls are soft and malleable until approximately one year. Other tips for parents and caregivers from the Seattle Children's Research Institute:
* If your baby is diagnosed with plagiocephaly, ask the doctor to screen for developmental delays in both motor and cognitive skills.  Talk about the results.
* Remember that babies develop at different times, and at different rates. What is 'normal' for your baby may be ahead of or behind what is normal for another baby. Babies who start out slower often catch up later.
* Always place babies to sleep on their backs: this remains the safest way to sleep. Place your baby's head at one end of the crib and switch to the other end the next night.
* Encourage active 'tummy time' when babies are awake: find ways to for baby to engage, play and move while on their tummy, several times each day. Watch your baby during tummy time.
* Choose different positions and ways for babies to play and be held: variety of stimulation is important. Switch the arm you use to cradle your baby each feeding session; right one time, left the next.
* Use strollers, car seats, infant seats, bassinets, cribs and play pens when necessary, but remember that babies need frequent lap time, cuddling, active play times and chances to move that aren't limited to being in stationary positions.
* Develop motor skills: play with babies to get them moving. Encourage crawling, rolling, reaching, pushing, pulling, holding, grasping.
* Develop cognitive skills: play with babies to get them thinking and talking. Encourage interactions with their environment, looking, listening, imitating, babbling, singing, talking, reading."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Amazing contest alert!

There's an amazing contest over at Bittersweet Photography.  I'd love to win this and have some post-helmet pics of Kieran done.  I bet you'd love to win it too!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Things Left Unsaid...

There's a name for my kid's flat head.  I don't think I've mentioned it yet.  It's called "Positional Plagiocephaly" (Plagio) or in lamen's terms, "Making Parents Feel Like Failures Since 2009" (MPFLFS2).

When you first meet your little dude or dudette you're told to make sure they sleep on their back. Hey - anything that keeps that dreaded SIDS away is fine by me. On his back he goes.

They don't tell you that you should alternate the side of the crib or bassinet they sleep on every night. Or that you should put mobiles or interesting things to look at on both sides to keep your babe looking back and forth instead of stuck on one side (or in our case, flat on the back of the head).

Then they tell you to make sure you get tummy time in. But they don't tell you what to do if your kid screams blue murder any time he's face down.

They tell you that breast is best, which is cool because you feed from both sides so they're switching back and forth which side of the head they're on. They don't tell you that if you formula feed you should be switching them back and forth in your arms each feed for the same effect.

It's a horrible feeling knowing that things you did or didn't do put your child in the position where they may need some type of medical intervention. It fills you with guilt.

They don't tell you what to do about that either.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A little background..

Here is our story.

Kieran was born on Remembrance Day, 2009.  We're positive he came that day to make sure no one would forget him.  He's just that kind of dude.

After a month or two of him being in our lives, I noticed the back of his head looked a little flat.  Everyone told me it was okay, "not that flat", and "it would round itself out".

A couple more months went by and it was still flat.  Maybe a little rounder.  Maybe not, it was probably just my wishful thinking.

At Kieran's 4 month check up, our family doctor noticed it and asked how long it had been that way.  I figured she'd noticed before - it had pretty much always been like that.  I noticed it, she should have too.
She gave us a brochure full of frightening information on plagiocephaly and craniosyntosis and referred us to a pediatrician.  We had to wait like 3 weeks with the worst case scenarios stuck in our heads because of that stupid brochure.

April 1, 2010 was our first meeting with the pediatrician.  He checked Kieran all over.  Turned him this way and that.  Got spit up on.  Got peed on.  Laughed about it.  He was amazing.  He said it might round out on it's own, but would never be truly round.  He told us about a device that's used to help round out little heads.  A helmet.  I know, right? A helmet.

I asked him what he would do if he were in our position.  At first he told us that he wasn't sure, but after a little thought he said he'd go with the helmet.  Kieran is 5 month old and the perfect age for treatment.  If we don't treat it and hope it rounds out on it's own and it doesn't it will no longer be treatable.  He said many times parents decide to wait to see if their little person's head will fix itself, but after a while it's too late and they regret not going for the treatment.

We left there with a big decision to make.  Let our babe live his life with a flat head (that's purely a cosmetic issue) or use a device that has a serious stigma attached to it and put our honey bunny through a couple of months of discomfort.
We don't want to live our life with any regrets when it comes to our son.  We don't want him to resent us later either for not fixing something that can be fixed.  It's a couple of months and he'll get used to it.  And when he's older we want him to wear a baseball cap, or be able to shave his head like his daddy, and no one will comment on the shape of his head.

Houston, we're going for the helmet.  Now we sit and wait for a consult.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fixin' a Flat

Hi! I'm Melissa, mommy to Kieran. He's the most perfect, awesome, funny, happy, handsome little guy in the world. There's just one problem. He has a flat head.

That's why I'm here. Because my perfect, awesome, funny, happy, handsome little dude looks like he's been smacked in the back of the head with a book.

This is our journey towards a round head. This is us fixin' a flat.