First of all, I want to start out with saying Harry is perfectly healthy. We noticed around 2 months that the back of his head was extremely flat. Long story short, at 6 months we went and saw a specialist and learned that his case was "severe." The front of his forehead was super wide, and the back of his head was as flat as a board. Medically, there was no danger in keeping his head the way it was. Cosmetically, it could be a nuisance if he ever played a sport that needed a helmet, if he goes bald, or ever wants to keep his hair short or shaved. After many discussions we decided to move forward with getting the helmet.
The helmet works by maintaining the head shape he currently has, and then it guides future growth in certain areas. (I'm not a doctor, but that is the simplest way to put it.) The helmet is custom designed for his head and every two weeks they shave down the inside to guide his growth. Harrison is the most easy going baby and seriously doesn't even know the helmet is there. I am so thankful that it was a smooth transition of for him.
He has been wearing the helmet for about a month and we are overjoyed with his progress. We can already see growth in that short amount of time.
It was difficult for me leading up to getting the helmet, and the first week with him in it. It is kind of embarrassing to share this, but I really want to be open in case there is any parent out there that feels or will feel the same things that I did. I will start with this: I am a perfectionist. I know Harry is healthy and that is all I needed to focus on and be thankful for; that would have been the "perfect" outlook and response. But I had all of these other "imperfect" feelings that made me feel so guilty and ashamed!
The week leading up to him getting the helmet I was a total mess. I was crying, mourning, dreading the fact that my little boy would look different and that I couldn't kiss the top of his head any time I wanted to. We had to shave his head because they needed a perfect mold of his head (they did this by taking 360 photos of his head) and his gorgeous, long hair wouldn't give us an accurate read of his head shape. That was a really traumatic day. Everywhere I went people would comment on his hair, every picture I posted was full of comments on his rare full head of hair. His hair was so much of my outward identity of him, so it was really sad shaving it off! I know that is so silly, but it was something I had to mourn. I was sad that from months 6-10 some important memories would be captured with a helmet on. I didn't want his first crawling and walking photos to be of him in a helmet.
Once we got the helmet I had another adjustment phase I needed to deal with. The first couple of days, every time I looked at him all I saw was his big white helmet. When we took him out, people would just stare. I felt embarrassed because I didn't know how to talk with strangers. Was I supposed to comment on his helmet? Was I supposed to ignore the fact people were staring? I had all of these thoughts while feeling so guilty that I felt any of these superficial things, because at the end of the day he is healthly and that was all I was supposed to focus on. I also felt guilty because medically he didn't NEED the helmet, so we brought this decision to put him in the helmet upon ourselves, so I wasn't allowed to be upset.
I reached out to a girlfriend from college whose son was also in a helmet. They used the same company we did and so she was full of information. They actually live 4 hours north, but she would drive down every other week for his appointment just to use this company. She was really encouraging, letting me know that she felt all of the same things. She promised me that it would get easier and that I wouldn't even notice the helmet after a couple of weeks. She was 100% right. After about 2 weeks, the helmet just meshed into our routine. He is allowed one helmet-free hour a day and thats when we have bath time, cuddle time, and I can snap all of the photos my heart desires.
Again, I understand that many moms have serious problems and issues to mourn. I just wanted to share incase any parents out there ever have the same situation as we do and need some encouragement that it DOES get better and easier. Now Mr. Man is rocking his R2D2 helmet stickers like he's an official cast member.
Happy 8 months baby boy! Cheers to sunshine, long naps, and a round head!
To learn more about the treatment we are using on Harry you can visit Cranial Technologies.