Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The thing with helmets

Some of you may have seen pics with Cole in a helmet.  No, despite what I told people, Cole is not and was not doing skateboard training to compete in the Olympics (not yet anyhow).  He had flat head syndrome - or plagiocephaly (although FH is easier - I had to toggle back and forth between my other computer screen to make sure I spelled that right!)  FH is more common with babies now with the whole back to sleep campaign - babies are on their backs more and may tend to turn their head in one direction more than the others - that combined with the soft growing noggin and one can get FH.  My understanding is this is actually more likely with twins - because they were so crammed "in there" for so long, they have a tendency to keep their heads turned in one direction merely because in the womb they couldn't turn it.

Anyhow, we discovered Cole had FH at around 4mo old.  We tried almost everything to help him shake it:
  • Propping him up on towels to sleep at an angle (he kicked the towels off)
  • Propping up his crib mattress (he slid to the bottom)
  • Going to an osteopath to work on relaxing his neck muscles so he could turn his head easier (not sure what this did - felt good at the time, but we couldn't afford to go back)
  • Propping him up on wedge pillows (this would have been perfect had we started them sooner)
My friend turned me on to a cranial cup that she used from a clinic called NOPCO in Boston.  There is great research on the cup and they are actually now in the process of getting it patented so they can sell it nationally.  Unfortunately for us, right now they only let children get the cup if they can get to the NOPCO clinic for measurements and check ins so they can alter the cup as the babies head grows.  I tried everything to get our hands on one of these - I even found the doctor who created the cups contact information online and reached out - he said "of course I can have one!" and introduced me to the head of the clinic that day.  The head of the clinic also happens to head up marketing for the clininc so the "of course" turned into "I need to check with the lawyer" and then to " ."  Bummer.

Finally, we sucked it up and took Cole to a neuro sergion who said "yep, his head is flatter on one side."  Well, yes, we could see that.  A referral later and a lot of talking to insurance, and we were on our way to a helmet.

First up - measurements.

Two weeks later, Cole had a shiny blue helmet - rad!

Over the course of 2-months Cole wore his helmet when possible (he got sick during this time so he couldn't wear it (he had a fever and keeping heat in is not smart)).  The most painful parts were not being able to kiss his little head.  Strangers also were less than discrete with utterings like, "What's wrong with him?!" or "Bah - is that child protection now - helmets?" (to this one I wanted to ask if the guys face was population control, but I refrained - I'm nice).

Cole's head morphed from a 22mm difference to 5mm (8mm is normal) and we are all happy happy happy!  No more helmet - not until football season anyhow.


varunner said...

He looked awesomely cute in his he was ready to do some crazy mountain biking. Glad he won't need it any more :-)

Lucy Autrey Wilson said...

Great article! I was trying to resist commenting on your word rephraned but ultimately couldn't refrain!