It’s been a couple weeks since starting the process with Cranial Technologies to fix-up my baby’s head shape. Today as I type this out, Shiloh is fast asleep in his crib with a DOCband on his melon!
If you missed my first article, or need a quick medical jargon refresher, my son has plagiocephaly. It’s a weird looking word that describes the shape of Shiloh’s head. As I’m certain you’ve noticed, people have round heads! It’s not just a cosmetic phenomena, our heads are round for a reason. Our head growing into that round shape ensures our facial planes stay even, our eye sockets match up with our optic nerves, shoulders are level, even weight on your spine, and you know- balance!
To read about when we first noticed his plagiocephaly and what getting his first set of scans was like, CLICK HERE!
I last left off on the insurance company needing to be contacted so we could see what this would end up costing us. They told us it could be anywhere from 1-3 weeks until we heard back. It ended up only taking three days for us to get a call back- which immediately told me it wouldn’t be good news. They are “out of network,” and our insurance wouldn’t be covering anything. We found out that if we paid it all upfront that it’s a 10% discount. That made it about $1,890. It’s one of those things that makes you go ‘ouch’ when you pay for it but in the grand scheme of things that are medical, doing this 2K now is still favorable to several surgeries down the line.
Two days after paying for the helmet, we ended up spending 3K to fix my car, so his helmet suddenly didn’t seem so bad…
After the insurance stuff was settled, they get you in for your real set of scans ASAP. It was only a couple days between the call and his next appointment. I was told it’d would be quicker than last time since there wasn’t a consultation for this go around. The scans were done on the same machine as before but this time he had to put the whole sock over his face for a couple minutes. He was so brave, but made the biggest frown I’ve ever seen on a baby.
He was absolutely fine though. Never was I concerned about safety or even comfort. The mesh sock came off as soon as they were done and he bounced back like he had just finished playtime. After the scans are done, you wait about a week for the helmet to be made before you go back for pick up.
Picking up the helmet is a longer appointment. Probably about an hour. They want to make it sit perfectly on their head so they have him try it on and leave it on for a couple minutes to see where it settles before shaving away little bits to ensure his head isn’t getting pinched. Our doctor, Meredith, was great with Shiloh. He really rolled with the punches. Didn’t seem to mind having the helmet put on and off a lot. Shiloh even maintained composure when it was time for Mom and Dad to practice taking the helmet on and off for the first time.
Sidebar: Practicing this probably sounds silly but there is something about your baby’s head that constantly instills fear in you. Sliding something hard and snug onto your baby’s skull the first few times seems aggressive? Not sure that’s the right word for it. You catch my drift.
Of course then they go over all the rules. Skin checks for the first 48 hours, keep it dry and cool, but most importantly to keep it on! Babies are supposed to wear the DOCband 23 hours a day. The 1 hour off is typically bath time! After the fitting and you are sent home with the helmet you still go back for once a week appointments to refit the helmet. Once a week you’re thinking?- but actually it’s exactly what they should do. Babies heads grow SO fast between 4 and 6 months. When you go back once a week, they shave away some of the inside foam to make room to ensure head growth isn’t inhibited, but also that you are getting that proper shape.
They let me schedule 3 out at once and I got my early time slot I love. Turns out no one else typically wants the spot- imagine that!
We have had the DOCband almost a week now and after some successful skin checks, we noticed he just kept getting red in the same spot and it was taking longer and longer to go away. I called, they had me text a picture and before I could return to my task at work, they called back. Gave me the next available appointment to get Shiloh in and make the helmet more comfortable. I really applaud their attention to the kiddos. The staff truly love babies.
Other than that- I’d say it’s gone well. He didn’t seem irritated by the spot. I just wanted to address it before a scab or something formed. He doesn’t fuss when we take it on or off, his head control is still great, and he is the same happy baby as before. He’s starting to notice he basically has a battering ram so it’s going to be an interesting few months.
The main struggle is Shiloh finding a comfy position to sleep in with the helmet, he was already a squirmy baby- sleeps like me! I think he will get used to it soon as it’s already greatly improved upon shaving that spot down more. He started getting restless regularly halfway through the night but I figure out it’s because he is getting sweaty. So pro tip: if your baby will need a helmet in AZ, put a little fan right by their head at night. Game changer for this Little One!
So now I guess we really are here on this journey now. I’ll be getting lots of scans to see progress at the weekly appointments. After a couple months, I’ll share the progress we have made. Hopefully it’s enough he won’t need that second helmet. We can all dream!
While this is NOT a big deal and is something completely normal to happen to babies, as a parent, that information doesn’t minimize your concern. If I seem worried, I really am not! Shiloh is fine. He’s a healthy and happy baby who just had an opportunity to correct something early on to prevent worsening. His variety wasn’t going to cause brain development issues which is generally the big worry here. All the concern just comes from the fact that I can’t tell my baby what’s going on. That’s the part that makes me feel bad. Same feeling you get the first time a baby gets really sick and they clearly don’t have any idea why they feel that way and why you, who always make everything better, is not doing something about it. So you get what I mean!
I am still feeling so good about doing this for him. When I’m not feeling bad for him for no reason, I forget he has it on because he just looks so dang cute in it. Plus, you can decorate them as you. I painted mine! You can kind of see it above. Better pictures are on my Instagram page, (@kaciejelly.) Lots of change is coming in the next several months so I better buckle up!
If you are now looking at your baby’s head shape and thinking something is off, ask your pediatrician or schedule a free scan at Cranial Technologies. The technology is cool and the staff is so kind. *Not pushing any sort of agenda, just pushing the information!*