Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beautifying Plagiocephaly: A Mothers Story

My friends sister, Chelsea, has a six month old daughter Willow who has been diagnosed with Plagiocephaly, a condition in which the side and back of an infants head is flatten. Chelsea is sharing her story with Mothers of the Valley to help parents deal with the various concerns and situations that inevitably arise when they have a child diagnosed with Plagiocephaly. She also wants parents to learn about “Wrap Buddies,” a program that has helped her immensely, by creating attractive covers for unattractive medical devices that small children may need. This is free of charge and available to those in need and not exclusive to the helmet. For any parent in a similar situation as Chelsea, as she will explain, the stresses go beyond medical and her child’s health—you need to deal with the various looks you get while at the supermarket or the wide range of questions you get while at the park. A river of tears has been shed by Chelsea, but lucky for us, she is sharing with us a few ways to add some sunshine to the situation.  

Written by Chelsea Perrish

Willow was born September 10th, 2013. After a rough 24 hours of labor and eventually a c-section, Willow came out with a smile on her face.  A few weeks of getting to know our girl, we noticed Willow’s tendency to sleep with her head to one side. We saw a physical therapist who showed us exercises and tips. Weeks later, at our 4 month check up, our pediatrician recommended we have an evaluation at Cranial Technologies. While she assured us it was a mild case of plagiocephaly, I couldn’t stop crying! I was devastated and felt it was all my fault. We did tons of tummy time. How did this happen?

Right away we scheduled our first meeting with Cranial Technologies
in Pasadena. On our first visit they took detailed photographs of Willow’s head. Once they reviewed their photos with us, it was clear – our daughter needed the helmet.  Our specialist explained that our birthing had a lot to do with her torticollis. She assured us we did all we could do and the helmet really was the only option. Again, I imagined the worse – our happy baby girl would now be a sad, sweaty, smelly and uncomfortable baby!  While the specialist tried to tell me the babies do not mind the helmet, I just couldn’t believe it.  I was so worried what people would think.  Before I was a mom I didn’t know what it was, and now I felt other people would think something happened to her.

A week later we got our helmet. The specialist was right – while it took a night or two of adjusting, Willow did not mind the helmet one bit! One week after wearing the helmet 23 hours a day and I already noticed a huge improvement in the shape of her head. Now four weeks of wearing the helmet and they are estimating only 2 more weeks to go.

Cranial Technologies also referred us to Wrap Buddies, a non-profit organization that decorates the helmets for free! We drove an hour to Camarillo to meet with one of their Partner Shops, Eyedentity Graphics. There we picked out designs and colors for Willow’s helmet. One week later our helmet was decorated with butterflies and flowers.  It is so beautiful that I have even had a stranger ask if the helmet was a new fashion statement!
I have stopped thinking it was my fault that Willow needed the helmet, and have started embracing how lucky we are to have this technology! Thanks to Cranial Technologies Willow is going to have a perfectly round head. While I cant wait to put her bows back on, her pretty pink helmet (with butterflies and flowers) is very stylish in the meantime.

"The Wrap Buddies program provides a colorful wrap over the not so attractive medical device free of charge for families who suffer from Plagiocephaly.  Since the inception of Wrap Buddies (they) have wrapped over 900 helmets, as well as prosthetic legs, walkers and a few scoliosis braces for children."  To learn more click on Wrap Buddies to be directed to their web site.