Carter's new best friend - his helmet.
Carter was breech and was born via c-section. Not a big deal. Naturally, we thought our baby was perfect. When we laid him in his carseat or swing, his head tilted to one side and down a bit. It was adorable - this perfect little baby head tilt. Later I learned the adorable head tilt was actually Torticollis - a mostly non-frightening condition that meant his neck muscles got a little tweaked from being shoved into my womb for 10 months (I mean, who's wouldn't?) and we'd need a little PT to stretch things out a bit so he'd get full range of motion. Not a big deal.
Donald and I switched off and on taking him to PT every other week at Children's Hospital of Colorado where he got to play with new toys, stare at himself in the mirror, and inevitably spend most of the appointment screaming because he thinks it's fun to waste our Health Spending Account funds by being inconsolable for a majority of the PT session. Regardless, he made progress and the PT let us know the Torticollis was mostly cleared up. Except his adorably gigantic, round dome was no longer round (still gigantic) - it actually was quite flat on one side due to the fact he had been 'forced' to lay on one side for the last 6 months of life.
Fast forward a few cranial specialist appointments later and Carter had been diagnosed with both Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly - two conditions that sound way scarier than they actually are. It's essentially a misshapen head, caused by the Torticollis (in his case) and is purely cosmetic. The shape of the head has nothing to do with his brain or future brain which was an immediate relief because we really need this kid to be smart and get a full-ride scholarship.
Carter will be fitted for a hockey-like helmet that he'll wear for 23 hour a day that will help to reshape his head in such a way that's cosmetically pleasing. Left untreated, both Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly can start to affect the front of a child's face - causing their eyes, ears or other facial features to become more asymmetrical than normal. In extreme cases, a child's forehead or eyes can bulge permanently.
Over 200,000 kids every year are fitted for a helmet.
Now that you have the facts - let's all agree - this is not a big deal. Several loving friends and family members of mine have asked how we're doing with the news. And I think that's an appropriate question (and incredibly kind) to ask - however - when you are going to the Children's Hospital of Colorado every other week and see children being wheeled to and from their chemo in wagons...or see watch the Flight For Life 'copter land in the field next to your parked car...you realize that a few months of helmet-ing just really isn't a big deal. Things could be worse. Things could always be worse.
Naturally, the mommy-guilt crept in for a hot second before I made the conscious decision that we just weren't going there. Did I leave him on his back too long? Should I have noticed sooner? Should I, Could I, Would I? Don't know, don't care. We don't have time for that thinking. We have to figure out the important things like...how are we going to decorate this helmet?
Thanks to BlingYourBand.com, Donald and I were left with 100+ options of how to best use a not-so-fun situation to our advantage. It's not football season - so, sorry...you won't be seeing a Broncos themed helmet. I nixed the idea of a Rockies theme - too cliche. After much debating (seriously...so much debating), we settled on a few different set of stickers that little C-Salt will sport for the next 2-4 months. Exciting times lie ahead, friends.
What's the moral of this story? You're about to see a ton of photos of my adorable son in a helmet. And I wrote this to field some of the questions I'll inevitably get...but mostly to let you know that he's okay - we're okay - everything's okay.