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Mother's Plagio Diary

 

Mother's Plagio Diary

 

Mother's Plagio Diary

Child: Jude
Diagnosis: Right sided Plagiocephaly with Brachycephaly
Date of birth: 20/04/2006
Date entered into treatment: 23/10/2006
Mum: Raquel
Dad: Julian


Why we chose for Jude to undergo cranial remoulding

As soon as he was born, the midwife who came to my home visit suggested due to Jude's traumatic birth that we take him to a cranial osteopath.

He was three and a half weeks' old when I took him for his first visit and the cranial osteopath stated that he needed some work as his head was quite flat especially on one side and also he already had a preferred way of sleeping. She gave us some exercises to ensure that he slept on the non-flat side.

I also had an appointment at Nuffield Hospital to check whether Jude had hip dysplasia and the consultant gave me a leaflet on Plagiocephaly and told me also that we needed to work on exercises to get pressure off Jude's head - this involved "tummy time".

We bumped into a couple who were out for lunch with their son who had a band on his head and we asked them if it was due to their baby having a "flat head", they confirmed this was the case and felt that they had no support for them to go to a clinic for remoulding and wished that they had been informed a lot earlier about the need to undertake exercises to improve their son's head.

Since then, my husband and I have been really conscious of Jude's head and have worked really hard to ensure he sleeps on the "right" side and to ensure he spends time on his tummy (which he does not like because it is alien to him and hard work!!).

We were also conscious that time was passing by and if we wanted to go down this route, we wanted to ensure it was for the minimal amount of time so it was key to get Jude to see someone whilst his head is most malleable. It was a real struggle because we wanted as parents to do the "right thing" and most people working in the NHS seemed to regard cranial remoulding as "unnecessary" as Jude's head was not the worse head they had seen and it would "pop out" in its own time. However, Jude's cranial osteopath, who was against the band route at the beginning stated that he was growing too quickly to manage the flattening of the head and if he was her child, she would go down the band route.

My husband and I discussed and discussed what we should do.

We consulted friends and family - some thought that having a band was cruel; whilst others thought it was a great idea and wished they had known about the technology when their babies were growing up.

We have become obsessed with looking at all children's and babies' heads - my husband is worried as concerned mothers (and fathers) keep giving him dirty looks when he is considering their child's headshape. After much thought, we decided to take the plunge, we did not want Jude to turn round to us when he was older and say to us "why did you not get my head sorted out when you had the chance?”

Our parents took chances with us in sending us to orthodontists that specialised in fixed braces as they were new to the UK then and we felt we had to do this for Jude since doing nothing was not a chance we could take.

Since then both the consultant at Nuffield and Jude's cranial osteopath have stated it is not just cosmetic, there is evidence of jaw misalignment, headaches and pressure on the neck and spine without even considering any psychological damage of victimisation for what may be seen as a defect.

 

Why we chose LOC

I found them on the website but the consultant at Nuffield also recommended them. The fact that they use a laser to create the mould to make the band was an overriding consideration as we could not put Jude through the trauma of having a cast taken of him with straws up his nose and bandage covering his eyes.

I liked the professional way that a doctor spoke to you on the phone to take details prior to the first no obligation consultation and it gave us confidence when an email arrived instantly confirming the appointment.

5 October - The Consultation

My husband and I agreed on a code that if we were comfortable with the consultation, we would progress with having the band and have the measurements taken. We liked the fact that there was no pressure to proceed and we could have waited but that would mean that Jude's head may take longer to correct so we decided to proceed. Measurements taken showed that Jude has severe brachycephaly and moderate plagiocephaly. The process was really quite simple and painless in that a sock (with the ears, eyes and nose cut out) was placed on Jude's head whilst a laser gun took an "imprint" of his head. We were to return two weeks later for the band to be fitted. The next two weeks passed very quickly but looking at Jude's head objectively we were confident with our decision to proceed. We decided to go for a "sky" design as we thought a plain colour may make it less fun and look more medical.

 

20 October - The Fitting

Jude is 6 months today and he received his band. As explained, the fitting was not too pleasant. It was fine but as expected we did have a few tears and gripes from Jude because it was something new. I am pleasantly surprised since the band suits him and I think he looks quite cute. Whether this is expected since any mother would find their baby gorgeous whatever they look like, I am not sure. I am also surprised at how hard the outer skin is but in a way, I am pleased since I feel the band can serve a dual purpose and protect Jude's head from any accidental knocks especially since he is rather pleased with his ability to turn onto his stomach and he keeps banging his head against his cot in his attempt to do this. He also had had a growing spurt since the consultation and that meant many trips to get the band amended to ensure the fit was right.

 

29 October - First Week

Both sets of grandparents have seen him (their beloved grandson!!) with the band on and they all approve. They too were amazed as to how good it looks. I must say I am calling him a "skater boy" as he does look like some trendy kid with a skate board. We do get people looking at him when we are out and about and that is because the bands are not that common a sight yet and people are just curious. Already two people have stated that  their grandchild or child have a "flat head" and wanted to know  why they had not heard about it and now it is too late. Jude has been to Nursery and the younger babies keep stroking the bandand are fascinated by it; whilst the older children want one themselves (it could be the latest designer accessory).

After the dread of taking the band away, I must say it has been really easy and we have incorporated the wearing and cleaning of it in Jude's daily routine. He no longer cries, wriggles about or gets tetchy when we put it on. In fact, he does not even know it is on and we are amazed how quickly he has taken to it. The first week has gone so quickly that I am confident that the time he has to wear the band will pass before we know it!!

 

30 October - First Review

We were rather excited to go to our first review since we were so pleased with ourselves having achieved a week without any serious hiccups. Jude's head was measured and it was discovered that his head had already started to take shape. We were amazed how quickly it had started to work even though we had been building up to it.

 

2 November

Jude had a really bad cold and I took him to the doctors as I was concerned by the amount of coughing. One night he had a really bad temperature so we took the band off him which I don't think he really noticed but it made us feel a bit better.

 

9 November

All this week, I have been dragging Jude around with me as it is my last week off on maternity leave before going back to a new job. He has been to a number of London eating establishments and some people have smiled sympathetically believing something worse had happened to his head or he has a medical condition that requires him to have the band. More importantly, we can not believe the change in Jude's head shape already. Even though we have no sophisticated measuring instruments, we know it is changing and you can visibly see the improvement. Even the cranial osteopath was impressed with how quickly the bands work. Today Jude had an injection for ear infection, meningitis etc so we had a band-free day as his temperature did rise significantly. I must say it is nice to see him without his band as you do miss seeing without it.

 

15 November

I started back at work and so far so good. The lady who looks after Jude and my parents have each had to clean and put the band on and it has worked quite well. My father who is follically challenged would like to get a band for him as we all think it is promoting hair growth. It is only Julian and I who seem to have lost the knack of putting on the band, we do seem to have days when we are not that good at positioning the band. Both of us feel that his head has grown and changed shape significantly. Monday is our second review and we look forward to what we hope will be continued positive news.

 

20 November - Second Review

I was really excited because we felt that Jude's head had changed shape but you do hold some doubt as to whether or not you are being too optimistic. Saeed took the measurements and there had been some great improvement. Jude had also had another growing spurt so quite a lot of the inner shell had to be shaved out especially to accommodate his chubby cheeks. We left feeling very optimistic and looked forward to our third review.

 

25 November

We cheated a bit in that Jude did not wear his helmet for a substantial part of the morning as we were attending a photo shoot so we could give the grandparents (and us) some photos for Xmas. It is amazing in that you are so pleased to see your child  without the band but it is mixed with guilt for allowing him to have more than the allotted time without the band and you hope that it is not causing any impediment to any cranial development.

 

1 December

I am so glad that we are going through this in the winter; you do wonder how parents (and child) cope in the hotter months (especially the last summer we have had!). It is so handy as we do not have to load Jude up with thick woolly hats and clothes as he keeps so warm with the band. I do feel a bit of a fraud as one woman thought Jude had sustained some kind of serious injury as her son had fell 12 foot out of a window onto a concrete base when he was 18 months' old. Thankfully her son is now 40 and well!!

Dad had to take Jude on his own as I had to go to work! But I received an excellent text from Julian saying that the results in two weeks were dramatic. Jude is almost on the normal line for his plagiocephaly and there were such dramatic changes that Saeed had to measure his head three times as he could not believe the  results either!! We are so pleased and we can visibly see the changes!

 

8 December

Jude is getting to be a bit of celebrity around Henley and I think that his band makes him more noticeable (plus his smile of course!!) but when I am out and about, places where the nanny people took him recognise him!! He just loves the attention (as I do secretly - but then which mother does not want to beam internally with pride when their bundle of joy is being recognised and remarked upon in a positive way!!).

 

9 December

Jude has got a really bad cough and because of this, we decided to give him a night without the band. I am sure it does not bother him but we just wanted him to be as comfortable as possible as he did seem to be suffering (from the cough!).

 

4 January - Fifth Review

A New Year and great news as Jude's head has almost reached what is considered to be within the range of normal. He does seem to be getting a bit big for the band - his cheeks especially seem to have grown too much that the sides of the band are pressing against him. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we get some extra improvement before it can no longer be worn. We now only have one more official review booked in and we can not wait!

 

19 January - Sixth Review

The final review date for Jude was to be in a week's time but it seems that Jude has had a growing spurt and he does not fit his band. The marks on his cheeks had been quite pronounced but neither Julian nor I are able to get the band correctly onto Jude's head. We have therefore managed to get an earlier appointment
with Saeed.

Julian is unable to make the appointment but arrives at the twelfth hour to see the final fitting - there can be no further shaving-down of the band; it is as thin as it can be. The Final Review was to take place on 26th January but we were persuaded to persevere for a final two weeks whilst it appeared Jude was having a growing spurt and we should to try to get down to the "optimal" measurements as we are almost there.

 

2 February - The Final Review

Julian and I are really excited as today is the "Final Review". Whatever happens, whatever the results, we know we have come to the end of the road for this particular journey! We have the final measurements and we are really pleased.

We knew there had been improvement but it is only when you look at the original set of photographs and the 3D laser scan that you realise the extent of change! We marvel at the results. His head has, in the space of three months, become "normal" but in a truly special way. We leave the Clinic very satisfied with the fact we have persevered with the band with a baby that has smiled and laughed throughout.

Do we have any regrets? And instantly we can say "none at all"

Journeys End

Jude, Raquel & Julian

 

The LOC Plagio Team