Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Helmet Head

Have you ever noticed anything odd or different about Avery's head? I sure didn't, not until about a month ago. I was cleaning up my singing time stuff in the primary room after church, and one of my primary boys (he is about 4) came up to where Avery was playing on the floor and matter of factly said, "Her head sticks out." Then he scampered off. I didn't really pay too much attention to his comment until later that week. Steve and I were watching cute little Braxton Yarn for Chancy and Chantel, and Avery and Braxton were nose to nose playing on the floor. Steve casually commented how much Avery's forehead stuck out compared to Braxton's. Then I remembered what the little boy said earlier that week and I suddenly realized Avery wasn't perfect! It was sort of an awful realization. I feel like I literally didn't see anything weird about her head until it was clearly pointed out to me.
So I fretted over it and talked to my sisters about it one day. They admitted they had noticed her head, but would never say anything because it doesn't look THAT out of place, and it was just Avery, just seemed like who she was. Thanks to Kelli I called Cranial Technoligies and scheduled a consultation appointment. Kelli knew all about it because her youngest is wearing a baby helmet right now.
I went to the appointment three weeks ago and they said she has a mild case of Scaphocephaly. That word was so familiar, why? Then I remembered. When I was pregnant with Avery I had an ultrasound done where my doctor was concerned with the shape of Avery's head, so she referred me to a specialist to check it out. My doctor thought it might be Scaphocephaly. The specialists checked it out and said her head shape was perfectly fine. Turns out, my doctor was right.
Scaphocephaly is where the head is long and narrow, and in Avery's case her forehead is wider than the back of her head. They call it a "bossed" forehead.
So despite the $3500 out of pocket cost for us to get a helmet on Avery, we decided to do it. They told me they can't push her forehead in, but they can soften the corners to it isn't so square and fill in the back of her head better.
This is totally cosmetic, nothing is wrong with her medically. I sort of feel vain, but not really. I don't want my daughter to have a weird head and find out later we could have done something about it, but didn't because of a measly $3500. No regrets. We are in the thick of it now.
Yesterday we got the helmet back from manufacturing. Apparently the owner of the entire company had to make Avery's helmet by hand because her head shape is so different from what they normally see. At least we feel special :)
She has to wear this ugly thing for 23 hours a day, for 15 weeks. I was really worried Avery would hate it and be totally miserable, but so far, she doesn't seem to notice it at all. She slept with it last night, and didn't wake up once. I'm so proud! The only thing that makes her uncomfortable is how much it makes her poor little head sweat. I take of off every now and again to check for redness and to wipe her head down - she is literally dripping with sweat ever time I take it off. This summer is going to be real fun.
I am in the process of getting it wrapped by The Wrap Shoppe (they do it for free!) so it will look more girly and cute and not so medical, it takes a couple of weeks for them to manufacture the design though. I want her to look cute - but with this thing on she looks like Count Dracula. I'm also going to ask the doctors next time I go to shave down that point in the middle, unless it absolutely has to be there.
See that big 'ol forehead?
They put a stocking over Avery's head before they took the 3D images to measure her head. She, surprisingly, did not mind this thing on her head at all, I was impressed.
First picture in the new gear. My little trooper.
See, she doesn't look uncomfortable at all, just sporting the double chin, and proud of it!
Side view. This helmet is monstrous.
Top view. At least there is still some head to kiss and nuzzle while she is wearing it.
My little Count Dracula - oh how I love this girl.
Avery is going to thank me for putting her through this someday, right?