not so well-rounded

Last Friday, I took Karis to see a specialist about her head shape. I was pretty sure of what the outcome would be. I mean, don't all moms google before appointments and show up with an already formulated diagnosis and treatment plan?

No? Just me?

Anyways, based on photos and descriptions I'd seen from the medical sources on the internet, I was pretty sure she had plagiocephaly. Which is basically a fancy term for a wonky-shaped head. It is a result from spending too much time on her back (and in the swing), causing her head to widen and flatten out. She's basically got an oval head. There is no real risk to her health or development. Unless you consider looking bad in hats a developmental issue. The course of action is to try repositioning (which we did), and then move towards an orthotic helmet.

Now there is always some controversy about doing something that could be painful for a child, just for the sake of how it might look. It's an interesting decision to ponder - do you sacrifice some discomfort now to keep your child from potentially looking a little different later? Especially when this is a minor thing that poses no risk to their health?

Okay, enough talking about circumcision. Ba-dum-dum. Let's get back to talking about plagiocephaly.

After I had confirmed my diagnosis with myself, I did what any other neurotic mom would do, and joined several online message boards about plagiocephaly. I wanted to learn about the different helmet options, so that I could tell my doctor what to do suggest where my doctor might send us for a fitting. I expected to find some discussion about the types of helmets, how to decorate said helmets, and how to keep the skin clean, etc. What I found instead were many, many parents sharing how difficult this was for them, to have a child wearing a helmet. People were really devastated about the diagnosis. I started wondering if I should be, too. Thus far, I've been pretty indifferent about the whole thing. Was I under-reacting? Moi, the queen of being over-dramatic? Because really, wearing a helmet for a few months? Not that big of a deal in the scheme of things.

So I went to the appointment on Friday armed with a good understanding of the diagnosis, a clear decision on which band to choose, and a firm resolve that this was NO BIG DEAL. So maybe she wears a helmet for a few months. Big whoop.

Fast forward to me sitting in the office with the doctor, who pulls out the high-tech photos they have taken of every angle of Karis's head, as she starts using words like "deformity" and "brain growth" and "brachiocephaly". Zoom in on me, drama mom, who is quietly fighting back tears and resisting the urge to cry out, "No! Not my perfect baby! Noooooo!! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!!!"

By the way . . . passport photos of babies: totally freaking cute. Detailed medical photos of babies with asymmetrical demarcations: not cute. Not cute at all.

That lasted for about five minutes, and then I sucked it up and regained my laissez-faire attitude about the helmet. Bottom line, Karis has exactly what I thought she had. She's gonna need to wear an orthotic helmet for a few months to reshape her head.

It's no big deal.

I think.


  1. I hate it when doctors wind me all the way up to panic like that. Hate. It. Because I am a totally a writer all about exploiting family events, my first thought is that you have to write about this for Brain Child or something. That's the way my mind works. Also I just like the way you write!

  2. Positional plagiocephaly is on the rise big time! Probably because us crazy nurses scare the crap out of new parents about letting baby sleep on his/her tummy.

    The helmets are cute now! You can get her one very chic!

  3. Dude. Are you CEREAL? I want to see the spot.. here you post this beautiful picture.. I want to see conehead baby!

    Good news about the helmet though.. the other kids can help take care of her, and it won't do any damage if they drop her on her head! Yay!


  4. I usually just lurk and laugh at your hilarious stories. My oldest son, who is 5 now, was diagnosed with the same thing.

    He had to wear the band for several months and it was totally fine! He got one of the cute ones that was decorated. Here were the worst things...not being able to cuddle with his sweet baby head, getting wacked in the nose with the stupid helmet, and the smell when you take it off at night to clean it (think 6 weeks in a cast smell)!

    But just think of all the blogging material it will give you:)

  5. Have a friend who had a helmetted kid. She also cried in the beginning. Then, when all was said and done she was like, "Eh."

    Just think, when people look at her funny you can roll your eyes, sigh and say, "She likes to butt things with her head."

  6. think about it. she won't hate you when she's 16 and has a wonky head. (and SHE won't remember, which is awesome). Actually, my daughter (who mysteriously looks a lot like Karis and was born in April too :) has had to go to PT appointments for the last 6 weeks because of HER wonky head. we think she almost has a Stewie shaped football head. Enough that a hand-me-down shirt last week DID NOT FIT over her odd head. good luck - she'll be fine. plop that girl on her tummy and get 'er off her head. ;)

  7. The son of a friend had this very same issue, so when I read this my first thought was not to reassure you that all will be well and good (which it WILL), but to worry about how much the helmet was giong to cost, particularly since I know you got reamed with a really large hospital bill for Karis' birth. (Stops to take breath, wow, that was a long sentence.)

    My friend fought with the insurance company for months so as not to have to pay $2300 for the helmet. Please get pre-approved before you go in for the head-measuring/helmet-fitting. It will save you a lot of grief!

    P.S. You know Karis is the cutest thing going, right?

  8. Please excuse typo in previous comment. And know that my anal-retentive self is very annoyed for not self-spell-checking prior to hitting "publish."

    P.S. Karis is going to be fine.

  9. Karis is ADORABLE! She will ROCK that helmet like it's no one's business!

    cute and chic helmet/band + very cute outfit + Karis = one GOREGOUS Child!


  10. This is a hilarious post. Your angel is sooooo cute!

  11. I'm totally going to make her a flower for her helmet. Just so you know, my sis in laws kids FOR SURE should have gotten helmets. FOR SURE!!! But she was in denial and they are now 3 and 5 with super CRAZY heads. So, totally worth it. Totally.


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