Sunday, March 31, 2013

Helmet Update, Mommy Guilt, and Crawling

After spending a couple of hours at Children's Hospital the other day, it was pretty quickly determined that Sidekick does not need a helmet.  The doctor seemed pretty confident that Sidekick's head will round out (although not perfect) eventually, and as his head continues to get bigger, the flat spot will get smaller.  Good news, right?  While several experts have told me that a helmet is not necessary, I feel badly that I didn't just go with my gut and get one for him anyway.  After all, it is my choice. Since he is almost nine months old, if I were to do a helmet, it wouldn't be as effective as it would have been when I started this process back in December.  His head is not as malleable as it once was, so it's not really worth putting him in a helmet for 3-6 months for minimal change. My mommy guilt will linger for a long time until I see his head get better.  But, I can't look back at what I should have done, and I have to put my trust in the experts.

Speaking of guilt, after we went to church for Easter service yesterday, I felt guilty not taking Sidekick to see the Easter Bunny!  I know that's so silly, but I hope I don't have any regrets about not getting a picture of my almost nine month old baby on the Easter Bunny's lap. I've been reassured that the Easter Bunny is quite creepy, which I agree, so that somehow makes it a little better.  I also didn't do an Easter basket for him (guilt).  It seemed so ridiculous since he has no idea what is going on.  Plus, I don't want holidays to be all about gifts.  So, Sidekick just thinks it is any random day (like he normally does).  I need to get over the Easter Bunny and Easter basket guilt.  Moving on...

Speaking of moving on, Sidekick went from slithering on the ground to a strong army crawl overnight.  He is mobile!  Quite mobile-- enough to get a dog toy and put it in his mouth (great!).  My days of putting him on the floor with a bunch of toys while he sat happily playing are gone! I can no longer walk away to brush my teeth, get meals ready, do some laundry, etc. without this little guy getting into trouble.  Yikes!

As we enjoy this Easter Sunday together, I am reminded just how blessed and lucky I am to have my little sidekick. I couldn't have made a more amazing, perfect baby. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To Helmet or Not to Helmet? That is the Question.

I have been aware that Sidekick has positional plagiocephaly (flat head) since he was about 3 1/2 months old.  He began sleeping eight hours at four weeks old and 12 hours at nine weeks old.  He essentially never moved while sleeping, and he still doesn't move much; hence the "help" in creating the flat head.  Because of how he was positioned in me during pregnancy, he always preferred to sleep with his head facing one direction. I tried everything from early on to reverse this: flipped him to the other end of the crib to force him to look out into the room instead of the wall, wedge something under the flat side of his head while in his Rock 'n Play to get the pressure off that spot, more tummy time, physical therapy, etc. While all of that has helped, he still have quite a flat spot. 

He was evaluated at about 5 months old and a helmet was recommended.  Since we were approaching the holidays, I asked for additional time to "intervene" since he was not going to be at school for two weeks due to the holidays and traveling.  She was on board with that request.  A month later, his measurements got better, and I bought him one more month to improve.  At that time, his measurements improved again, and a helmet was not recommended because his head will round out.  It just might take longer without the helmet.  I was okay with this and trusted the woman.  During that appointment, I met a family with twins, and one of their twins was in the same situation.  The mom and I exchanged phone numbers and went back and forth via phone and texting to determine if we should do the helmet or not (even though we were both told it was not necessary). 

Fast forward a few weeks, and the mom let me know they were taking their son to Children's Hospital for a second opinion.  It was at that point that a helmet was recommended for her son.  Here's where things get sticky.  For the helmet to be most effective in rounding out the head, it must be started no later than seven months. Sidekick and the other boy are almost nine months old!  The helmet must be worn 23 hours a day for 3-6 months.  Ugh!  Is it worth it?

I am taking Sidekick to Children's tomorrow to be evaluated.  The doctor will do X-rays again, and I'm bringing his first set to see if there has been improvement.  I don't want the helmet.  I never have wanted the helmet, but I've been very open to it the entire time because I want to do what's best for my son.  It's purely cosmetic and insurance doesn't cover the hefty $1500 bill.  His facial features are fine and ears are even (in really bad cases, this is not always the case). So I guess it comes down to how perfect I want my son to be.

So... who do I trust?  If Person A said his head will eventually round out and doesn't need a helmet, and Person B says he does need a helmet but because I waited so long it won't be as effective, what do I do? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Parent's Worst Nightmare

Before I begin writing what happened, I want to state upfront that my little sidekick is just fine.

I've never really thought much about SIDS because I didn't want to be a paranoid mom.  I've always considered myself a very relaxed mom who doesn't get too riled up about things.  When Cooper fell backwards on his head at daycare (on the wood floor of course!) and they called me to let me know, I asked, "Did he land on the rounded out spot and push out the flat spot?"  (He has plagiocephaly.)  I wasn't worried about him. When he fell over face first in the bathtub, I didn't panic and sat him up and told him he's okay.  When my dog kisses him, I laugh knowing that he's going to get a bath anyway.  When he chokes on his food, I just calmly talk to him while he coughs it up and then offer him some water.  Last night was an entirely different situation...

Sidekick goes to sleep no later than 7:00.  He's not one that moves around in his crib at night, but he will change positions.  I've been "forcing" him to sleep on his side or his stomach because of the plagiocephaly, but he really prefers his back.  Last night, he chose to sleep on his side which I was thrilled about.  I happened to wake up at 3:00 AM and turned on the monitor to look at him.  I noticed that he has not moved at all!  I immediately ran to his room and put my hand on him to feel him breathe. While he was on his side, he face was a little in the mattress, but his nose and mouth were visible, but I couldn't feel him breathing.  I noticed that his pajamas and sheet were wet, and all I could remember was when I put my dog to sleep I was told that she might lose her faculties.  I jumped to the worst conclusion!  I rolled Sidekick onto his back and still couldn't feel him breathe.  I picked him up and calmly shook him a bit to try to rouse him and was unsuccessful.  Finally, he let out a little squeal that clearly told me he was pissed because I woke him up.

I laid him on his changing table to put dry PJs and a diaper on him, all the while he was calm and quiet.  I didn't want to change his sheet, and I was still worried about him, so I brought him in bed with me so I could hear/feel him breathe.  (This is NOT a normal practice in this household!)  I laid him down and he began kicking his legs, petting my face, "talking" to me, etc.  It went on for well over an hour until he finally drifted off to sleep in my arms. 

For whatever reason, I caught Sidekick in a very deep sleep, so his breathing was very, very shallow.  It was a moment I never want to experience again.  It was a moment, though brief, that I thought I lost my baby.  Today I became that paranoid mom I was so trying to avoid.  I fear him going to sleep tonight, and I've never had that fear before. I can't shake that image in my head of my baby lying there, and I couldn't rouse him.  It was horrible. Horrible. Horrible.  I pray that God keeps my sweet little sidekick safe and healthy.  It's all I can do at this moment and beyond. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

First Birthday Party Pressure

Tomorrow my little Sidekick will be eight months old!  I cannot believe how wonderful these eight months have been.  I cannot believe how much I love this little guy.  I've said it before, but he truly is the perfect baby.  I can find no fault in him:  from being an incredible sleeper to being a great eater to be so happy and funny to being so laid back.  He is everything I could have hoped for and more.

Now that we are approaching his first birthday, I feel the pressure of having to do something to celebrate.  Off the bat, I want to set a precedence that his birthday is not about presents (neither is Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, etc.).  If I do something for his birthday, in lieu of presents, I want money to be donated in his name to the charity of each person's choice.  When he grows up, I want him to know that just by being born, he helped all a lot of organizations. When he gets older, it might change because his friends will be getting presents, but for now and for as long as possible, I'm firm on this.  (Don't get me wrong, he'll get presents from me, my sister and her family, and my mom and her husband, and that is plenty.) 

We went to a first birthday party last weekend, and while it was fun, the birthday boy had no idea what was going on.  While I had pretty much decided that I'm not doing anything, I kind of felt bad. Clearly the parties are for the parents to celebrate the birth of their child.  I get that.  A lot of people love my baby, but I don't necessarily think it means we need to have a party.  My condo is not big enough to have a group of people which then means whatever I do, I'll have to pay for the location, and I don't want to spend money doing that.  So, I continue to ponder this situation.  Knowing how fast eight months have gone, the next four are going to be even faster, so I've got to come up with a plan soon. 

Am I horrible not having a 1st birthday party for my son?  Is it okay to do something with my best friend and her family?  Why must these occasions be such a production?  Anyone, anyone?