We are nearing the end of our helmet journey and I am ready to look back and see where we’ve been. Our little Rainbow Baby had none of the issues you would expect for ending up in a DOC band. I was an experienced mom who went into birth determined that, come hell or highwater, THIS baby was going to learn to love tummy time. My first absolutely despised it and my second did not like it much better. I blame their funky crawling habits on this and put baby on her belly for regular intervals starting at 2 weeks. I even defied the powers that be and let my baby sleep on her tummy sometimes because she liked it so much, but always with me near.
My first two had nice round heads. Somehow, this third, this one that preferred tummy time to most anything else, that is so strong and began her own crazy crawl at 5 months, had the funky noggin. I first pointed it out to the pediatrician at 3 months. She agreed at told me to give her more tummy time and see if that takes care of it, following up in a month. The month did nothing to improve it. It was not particularly noticeable. It was a little flat on one side and bulged on the other side. What I mostly noticed was that it caused one ear to be further forward that the other. The pediatrician gave us a prescription for a D.O.C. Band consultation. The ped’s office had a little pre-printed prescription pad from that company, so immediately the ever present skeptic in me smelled a money-making racket. The offices in Boca and Miami are not convenient to where I live, either. But, as any South Floridian knows, one would rather drive to Boca in traffic than Miami. But we tried one thing first – craniosacral therapy.
We had to been to the mecca of cranioscaral therapy, the Upledger Institute with our first child when she was a newborn. She had trouble nursing at first because her jaw needed adjustment, a result of asynclitic presentation at birth (babies should be born crown of head first; the side of her came first). Our second daughter had craniosacral therapy for colic. It worked well both times. Neither therapist was still around, so we picked one at random in our area. Though she was lovely and sweet, we did not see noticeable improvement. We went forward with the helmet consultation.
The Cranial Technologies office was efficient. They quickly assessed her and explained something I had not understood before – the cause of the flat spot was torticollis. Rainbow baby’s neck was cocked to the side just a bit and the pull caused one side of her skull to pull out of shape. It could very well have begun in utero, though a floppy neck while sleeping in the carseat probably exacerbated it. I blame running from Hurricane Irma along with half of south Florida, stuck in traffic for hours at a time. She was never left in the carseat otherwise, though she has had to travel around quite a bit to keep up with her older sister’s activities. I am a marsupial mama and love carrying my babies in a sling whenever I can. They showed us a couple of stretches for her neck and recommended we see a physical therapist.
Our baby hated those stretches, but we persisted. They were to be done 5 times a day, so about every diaper change. We arranged her toys on the other side as they said. She moved them or compensated by moving her shoulders. The older she got, the harder she fought. She is a stubborn gal and still screams whenever she is placed on the changing table. Stretching did make some difference.
The physical therapy was not impressive. Our therapist was perhaps new and inexperienced. He was nervous and easily confused. He did the same stretches we did at home. The office could not tell us how much therapy visits would cost after insurance. We did not go back.
At the helmet fitting appointment they took 3D images by sitting us in the middle of 4 cameras. They put a little doo-rag or piece of hosiery on her head to help smooth it for pictures. Then they showed the images on screens. The showed us a perfect head and compared to our little one’s asymmetrical melon. We signed on the dotted line. Our insurance did not cover much of it, costing us about $1,800.00. We postponed braces for our second daughter. The helmet was ready in 2 weeks.
Stay tuned for the rest of the journey…
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