Hello again! Thanks for hanging with me as I’ve been away from the computer tending to my busy family! I’ve greatly missed blogging the last couple weeks, since it serves as such a therapeutic outlet for me. But as many of you know, life with little people is unpredictable and always full of surprises that keep us on our toes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even through the crazy busy stretches, I’m reminded that it is an absolute honor to take care of my loves.
I feel like so much has happened since we last talked. I’ll try my best to catch you up a bit and cover the major things going on around here. The biggest news coming out of the Kuiper home this week is that our sweet little Emersyn got a cranial molding helmet! It’s likely that you’ve been out and about and seen a baby wearing one. Ever since docs started the campaign to have babies sleep on their backs about 10 years ago, a lot of babies have been spending so much time with pressure applied to the back of their head, which can result in a flat spot getting dramatic enough to need correction.
I’m certainly no expert on this topic, but have learned a fair amount about it since becoming a mom. Baylen actually had a flat spot too, but it was pretty mild, and after talking with a physical therapist (who was Ali’s mom and is SO knowledgeable!) about ways to reposition him, his head ended up rounding out just fine without a helmet.
This time around, I noticed the same problem developing with Emersyn. I mentioned it to her pediatrician at her one month appointment, and was referred to physical therapy. It turned out that on top of having plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, which are fancy words for saying she has a flat head, she also had very mild torticollis, so we worked with our therapist to correct it. After a couple weeks that was completely fixed, and we were left to deal with the flat spot.
We came to find out from our therapist, Jenny, who was absolutely amazing by the way, that flat head can be caused by the shape of the mother’s uterus and the position of the baby in utero, which explains why both Baylen and Emersyn had it. Emersyn was Baby A, which means she was lower and the first to come out and also the very squished twin. I carried Baylen and Emersyn EXTREMELY low, and actually remember asking the doctor if I could squish their heads because it was so uncomfortable! Yep, I did in fact squish ‘em.
Mckinley Jo, on the other hand, has a perfectly round head, because she lived higher up in the womb, and despite the amount of time she has spent on her back since coming out, which let me assure you is the exact same, if not more than her sister, still has a perfectly round head. SO, while I know a lot of flat heads are caused by spending too much time on the back, I for one know that it’s just not worth making yourself feel all guilty and bothered if your child ends up needing a helmet.
No amount of tummy time was going to correct poor Emmy’s flat spot. It was just too severe. The great news is that since we put her in the helmet so young, her head still has so much to grow, and she too will have a beautifully round head like her sister.
Emotionally, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the helmet, but honestly mostly all I feel is a sense of relief that I have help fixing her little head. I have enough to keep me busy these days and it’s nice to know I don’t have to worry about it anymore and that a few months in a helmet is all it will take.
There are moments when I go to kiss her sweet head that make me tear up a little bit, but she doesn’t seem to mind her new accessory at all, and that gives me a lot of comfort. We started with an hour on day one, and at day four today we went 8 hours and she was happy for the most part. Starting tomorrow she’ll have to wear it for 23 hours a day so that we can maximize any growth that happens. The helmet doesn’t reshape the head, but rather places holds on the areas that are already grown and redirects growth to the flat areas. Since we don’t know when exactly that growth happens throughout the day, that’s why she needs to wear it most of the time.
I truly am thankful for the timing of the therapy and how all this played out. I’m grateful for the solution being so streamlined and approachable. I’m thankful for the Orthotist who spent an hour and a half with us on Friday morning to make sure the helmet fit just perfectly. We are truly blessed to have access to passionate and specialized healthcare providers. There have been many little blessings along the way, and as we continue I’m sure there will also be challenges, but hey, if this is the biggest complication we’ve come across on our twin journey, I’d say we lucked out.
And speaking of complications, when Emersyn finishes her time in the helmet, these two ladies are going to give us a run for our money when it comes to telling them apart. They are already looking so much more “identical!”
Have any of you been through a helmet experience with a little one? Any tips for a newbie?
Or do you have a little one who may be in need of a helmet? I SO appreciated this blog post from my twin mom friend, Caisa, all about her experience with helmets on her boys. She is AWESOME and seriously one of the most positive women I’ve come across. I also happen to have the honor to be on her mom’s panel that is starting up…check it out!
That’s all for now…we’ll talk again soon!