After 16 weeks and 2 helmets, Little Man is done with his DOC Band(s). This past Sunday, he developed red marks that did not fade after an hour. So Dude and I decided to remove the helmet and be done with it. I called Cranial Technologies on Monday morning and scheduled Little Man’s exit appointment for Friday. Once I have the final photo study and measurements, I’ll share here for my fellow plagio & brachy parents. But here are photos I took today of his head from top, right and left angles. I think he looks pretty darn good!

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Last Thursday, during Little Man’s final adjustment at Cranial Technologies, his clinician said that if the red marks on his forehead don’t go away during the hour break for cleaning (the helmet) and bath time, then I should just discontinue use.  Well, that happened. There were major marks on his head and his last day in DOC Band #1 was that night—February 18th.

His second DOC Band won’t be in until this Thursday, February 25th, so Little Man is enjoying a week off from his helmet.

I’m sad that he lost a week’s growth and I hope the weather forecast of snow holds off until AFTER his appointment on Thursday. I don’t want to lose any more time.  Little Man will be nearly 6.5 months old (6 months two weeks) when he gets the second band.  And while I want him to get as much out of it as possible, I hope he’ll only be in the helmet through April.  It would be nice for him to graduate before the warm weather.

And by going forward with a 2nd helmet, he’ll be wearing one during our vacation for my 40th birthday in April.  While most people have been kind and encouraging, I wonder how he’ll be received.  I hope in the same manner.  I guess the decorations help.  I’m not sure how I’m going to decorate this time. I’ll probably just get stickers this time, from Michael’s (does anyone know of any  other places to get stickers?) and use the Modge Podge to seal.  But I still feel that Coree at BlingYourBand does a great job and I’d buy a second design from her as well.

Not much else to report.  I’m sleep deprived again because I think more teeth are coming. The first two are out and there are 18 more to come. Wish me luck.

Being the assertive Aries that I am, I have convinced Dude to get Little Man a second helmet to get his head shape closer to the “mean”.  He has done amazingly well so far—his cephalic index (measurement of brachycephaly) went from 100% to 92.2% in only six weeks.  The mean is 78%.  I had Cranial Technologies do a 2nd photo study and take measurements last Thursday.  I’m not going to bore you with the other numbers, but I will say that his CVA (cranial vault index) also decreased from 6 mm to 4 mm.  That was the mild plagiocephaly he also has on his left side.

Here are the photos. Pics on the left were taken 3 weeks before he got his DOC Band (on 12/23/09).  Something spooked him, so he was SOBBING and, thus, looks so sad in the second set of photos.

While the financial burden is going to be hard to handle, I know I’m doing the best for Little Man.  Our future may include fantastic jobs and our situation can change. But there is only a short window of time to correct my baby’s head shape.

I should try to blog about something else, but getting my son’s head reshaped has been my main focus of late.

Little Man has shown a wonderful improvement thus far!  My photos aren’t of the same pose, but hopefully you’ll see the progress he’s made.

The slope on the top of his head is less “pointy” and the back has really rounded out.  Actually, after seeing these photos side by side, I feel more hopeful about his future progress with the DOC Band.  However, I’m still concerned that he’ll need a second one.  Per his clinician at Cranial Technologies he has about 3 adjustments remaining in the helmet.  I wish it was more, because I have a feeling I’ll want him to get a 2nd DOC Band to further the improvement.

Here are photos from the top.  The first was taken several weeks before his photo study.

It’s not the same distance or angle, so the second picture is not a really good comparison photo, but you’ll be able to see how it’s filling in nicely.

So hopefully he’ll REALLY grow over the next 3 weeks and I’ll feel comfortable with having him in just ONE band. But if the progress isn’t as much as I’d like, I may get him a second—if I can convince Dude that we should add to our debt to do so.

Here’s one last photo comparison—Little Man now and when he was a newborn.  Again not a great comparison, but I keep thinking of how oval his head was and this is why I’m not sure I’ll be satisfied until it’s more like this. And I realize a baby’s head gets LESS oval as he gets older. But I want Little Man’s head shape to be as close to the “norm” as possible.

My Little Devil

Thanks to Coree at Bling Your Band!

It’s not so bad.  I mean, yeah, it’s a bit unwieldy and rougher against my arm when I feed him a bottle. But it doesn’t look sterile (even undecorated in white) and Little Man looks rather cute in it.  He really isn’t crying or sleeping any differently. He does not like when I take it on and off for his exercises (for his Torticollis) but beyond that, seems to be adjusting well to his new “chapeau.”

After months of feeling guilt for allowing my son’s head to flatten, I’m now feeling HOPE that by wearing the DOC band that he’ll have a base of his skull again.  Even though this has cost us a lot financially, I went to the right place for my son.

I’m going to add a “page” to my blog with before photos and share them with you.  I know there are other moms who are dealing with plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, scaphocephaly and torticollis.  But I don’t want this to be the ONLY focus of my blog.  This is just a part of Little Man’s life—and mine.  Motherhood is full of challenges and celebrations and I want to document as many of them as I can.

Little Man will be my only child and I want to ENJOY his infancy and his milestones and ever-developing personality.

So the helmet is just a part of his life—it doesn’t define him.

Little Man is getting his DOC Band today. I’m a jumble of emotions right now. I’m still feeling so terribly guilty for letting him sleep for hours on end in the same position in his infant carrier. And while I know I didn’t KNOW, it’s still hard to move past this. My husband keeps saying “it’s not your fault” but I was home alone with him for two months.

That sick feeling gets worse when I see photos of him from his first 6 weeks of life. It’s like the flatness happened overnight. But, honestly, it just got worse over the last two months (even though I kept him off his back as much as possible) and I’ve since found out that it’s NOT easy to reposition for Brachycephaly.

So now I’m feeling hopeful that Little Man’s head will finally “round out” and that he’ll do leaps and bounds better developmentally once his head is more balanced on his shoulders and not “front heavy”.

I haven’t really posted any photos of Little Man, but I will as his journey with Brachycephaly and a DOC Band continues.