Thursday, October 25, 2012


Something new...

So since Aspen was born she has held her head to the right.

Look at her coming home from the hospital: head deeply tilted to the right. the right.

Yet again...

Even snuggling in bed with brother and she's slightly tilted to the right.
 It got to the point where I began to mention it to Anthony quite often because I was worried it might be torticollis, where the muscles are tight on one side. He had noticed it too and we started blocking her in the car seat, swing, and bouncy seat so she couldn't turn so far that direction. He even did a few stretches on her to see what he thought might be going on. He concluded that he didn't think it was torticollis because she wasn't "stuck" and would turn her head both ways when asleep or while playing. So we didn't think much more about it. I just happened to mention it at her 6 month check up with Dr. Todd. I had been noticing lately that one side of her face was flatter than the other. Not flat, but maybe less chipmunk cheeks on one side. Dr. Todd looked at her head from above and put his fingers behind her ears and said yes, she was out of alignment and that it was time to see a specialist.

So off to Charlotte we went, Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Cranial Technologies is the name of the center where we were referred. Anthony took off work early to make it to her 4:15 appointment with me. I figured we both needed to be there. Your baby's head shape and her future appearance are pretty big decisions to make by yourself. We met a sweet consultant named Ashley who welcomed us and explained the procedure to us. She also loved Aspen's headband! She happens to be preggo with a baby girl, so future customer! :) Anyway, she told us what would be happening today and took us to the imaging room.

This was a very large room with a huge piece of equipment right in the center. We had Aspen stripped down to just a diaper and Ashley put this "baby bank robber" hat on her so the full shape of her head could be seen without any hair getting in the way. It looked sooo funny!

She didn't seem to mind at all. Anthony was instructed to hold her arms straight down by her side and then Ashley stood by on of the many cameras that were surrounding Aspen and tried to get her attention. 

Basically it's a big circuit of cameras. There were at least 4 surrounding her body, from all sides and angles. Then there was one directly above her head to look straight down on her skull. It was pretty quick and painless and Aspen didn't fuss at all. We were ushered back to our exam room to wait for the images to process and Aspen played with her first "big girl" toy!

So cute!

Our official consultant came to speak with us once the photos were processed and in the computer. She came in to talk to us and evaluate. She watched Aspen play in the floor with her toys and asked us to explain what was going on. According to our eval paper work she assumes this occurred in utero so it's not something we did, or didn't do. She took us to yet another room to view the photos with her. Those cameras took pictures that were then assembled into the baddest, awesomest 3-D image of Aspen we've ever seen. (Forget that it's the only 3-D pic of her we've ever seen!) It was a giant rotating, totally manipulative photo of Aspen's whole body. She could twist, turn, tilt, zoom in any way she needed to see the exact shape of Aspen's head to explain to us what we were looking at and how the skull was affected. We were officially diagnosed with plagiocephaly

She called her case "moderate" and said it was unlikely to get any worse. However, her ears are misaligned and as her head continues to grow it could lead to misalignment of her jaw. Other problems could also occur if not treated. I don't want us to do nothing about it, then when she's 12 she's mad at us because she can't put her hair in a ponytail because the kids laugh that her ears aren't matched up. And of course you have that sudden feeling of, what did I do wrong? But I know she wasn't just left lying around in her crib, swing, stroller, car seat, etc long enough to cause flat places on her head. It just happened. Stuff happens. No telling what really goes on in the womb. And really, you know they're all squished up in there. Poor baby.

So what does this all mean? what? Well, now we get a 'helmet.' Or more correctly, a band. This band will be made from super light weight material specifically for Aspen using the images they will take next week. It fits on her head and looks like a helmet. You've probably seen other babies out and about with theirs on. Maybe you just didn't know what it was for. So this band must be worn 23 hours a day for 10-12 weeks. Next week we go back for more imaging for the creation of the band. Then two weeks after that we go back for our first fitting and actually receive the band. And yes, you did the math right. That means we'll be wearing this helmet through all the holidays this year. If we get it mid-November, we'll probably have it until February some time. 

How do we, I, feel about this? I think it's the right thing to do. It's the right decision. I want her to be perfect in every way. I want her to have everything she wants in life. I want to eliminate any reason other kids could be mean to her later. I want her to be as beautiful on the outside as she already is on the inside. Does that mean I don't have reservations? Absolutely not. Does that mean I'm not worried? No way. I'm most concerned about the people who I know will  ask about it. I know they are just uninformed. But I know some will be rude and assume she has a disability, or that there's something wrong with her. And I just don't want her to be seen as anything less than perfect. Because she is...with or without the helmet. I just know how people are. They're curious. It's human nature. But it's also human nature to hurt people's feelings without expressly meaning to. I know there will be tears shed the first time I see her in the band. I know I'll cry as we get adjusted to this new "thing" in our life. I know there will be people who aggravate and anger me. I just hope I have the fortitude to withstand the gawking, staring, and rude comments people make. 

I'm very thankful for my friend, Nicole, who also went through this with sweet Mady. Without having a close friend to consult with, cry with, and lean on I'm not sure how this would've gone. I had no idea what the bands were for before I met Nicole and Mady when Lincoln and Mady were only about 4 months old. Thanks to her I now have a personal reference for all things related to plagiocephaly. 

I will definitely be posting pictures of our beautiful baby girl in her super cute helmet. Because they truly are super cute. The office showed us pictures of babies with their bands decorated for every season, with their names on them, some even come in funky patterns like sports teams and Hello Kitty. Interesting. Just keep us in your prayers as we undergo what I feel like is just 'one more thing' on our plate...that seems to be heaped pretty full these days. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SIX whole months!!

I can't believe that Aspen is SIX months old!! It really feels like it was a few weeks since we got home from the hospital. She can sit up, been doing that for about a month now. She's trying VERY hard to go from laying down to sitting...she's so close! She still rolls all over the floor to get where she wants to go, but now she's up on all four's and rocks back and forth. She even lunges forward but forgets to move her arms and she face plants on the carpet! But she doesn't seem to mind too much. She can scoot all over the place. Just not an official "crawl" with hands and knees moving together. One of her very favorite things right now is the "Johnny Jumper" that hangs in the doorway. She can spend up to 45 minutes there while we're cooking and eating just jumping away. She just jumps and looks around and talks and spins. It's so cute! There is constant motion...I don't know how she can wiggle and jump that much without getting sick! Her favorite toys are the alphabet links we got when I was pregnant with Lincoln. She eats them and shakes them, and talks to them. She also really enjoys a vibrating star rattle that was handed down from my sweet friend Jessica, when Macy was too big for it.

She is wearing mostly her 3-6 month clothes. When we're in cloth diapers they're a little snug, but for the most part they still fit well. We have tons of 6-9 just waiting to be worn, but why not wear the 3-6 as long as possible? I never feel like she wears all the dresses she owns. Then I hate to see them go after only wearing them once. She's going to have to start dressing up more often than just to go to church! She's in size 1 shoes but they're almost too small. The size 2 is still too big and falls off or just seems to get in her way. 

We haven't had her 6 month check up yet, but last week we went to breastfeeding support group and she weighed 16 pounds, 6 ounces. This is so much less than Lincoln! At his 6 month check up he weighed 19 pounds, 3 ounces. She's mostly sleeping well. She sometimes wakes up but if we give her a paci she goes back to sleep. I'm trying not to feed her at night, I don't want to start a habit! We've recently begun giving her a bottle before bed, it seems to help her sleep better. She spits up a LOT. Lincoln didn't spit like this. And she can spit up like 2 hours after she ate. She'll be playing in the floor and suddenly, there it is. Yuck! Tons of laundry!

Anthony and I left her overnight for the first time last weekend. We always try to run away for our anniversary, so we left Lincoln with Grammy and Aspen with Nana. Mom said Aspen missed me a lot and had a rough time on Saturday after we left, but was sweet and snuggly and smiley on Sunday. She slept all night for Mom which was great, but I think it had been 4 or 5 nights that I'd been up with her in a row. It was definitely time to get a good night's sleep. Lincoln was his wonderful self and slept great and played well. We went to Fontana Village, NC. It's right by Fontana Dam. I was pretty excited to go. It's the largest concrete dam east of the Rockies and has great history of WWII. I taught 4th grade and there are pictures of Fontana Dam in our social studies book for NC history. I enjoyed seeing it. The Appalachian Trail actually crosses right over the top of the dam, so we actually walked a little over half a mile of the AT! Yay us!

Lincoln is fabulous, of course. He's wearing size 8 tennis shoes, but we're buying 9s for the fall and winter. He is wearing 2T shirts and pants. They're both a little big. The pants have to be adjustable waist or they don't stay up. He really needs the 2T for length, but they're always too big around the middle. He can still wear his 18 month pants from last fall...they're just about 3 inches too short! He still loves to ride his Radio Flyer Scoot 'n Zoom Scooter that we got him for his 1st birthday. He's crazy about cars, trucks, and trains. Oh, and tractors, and cranes, and diggers. Typical boy. Lately he's been carrying Aspen's Cabbage Patch Doll around and taking care of it. It's really sweet. He gives it a paci, wraps her up for nap and even puts her in the Johnny Jumper for exercise. I'm thinking about making him his own CPK for Christmas. Aspen's is actually her, named for her, and on her birthday. Thanks Anna!!

I'd just like to note that these were completely non-posted! That's just how he decided he wanted his picture taken!!!! :)

Lincoln still loves all things Mickey. He also really enjoys Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Chuggington. Let's just say we watch the Disney Channel. He loves, loves, loves to ride his big truck outside. And almost every day he listens to hear the ice cream truck! Ha. We're going to Disney on Ice this Saturday and I'm really excited! We're going with some friends, Nicole, Michael, and Maddy Turnmeyer. Lincoln and Maddy are 3 months apart and they play very well together. Maddy is just as verbal as he is, so they share pretty well and talk a LOT! It's very cute! Nicole is my crafting friend. We often go to her house to spend the day creating fun things from Pinterest!

We're working on potty training. Mostly he tells me after he's peed in his diaper, then it's too late. But on days like today he's only peed in his diaper twice, and on the potty the rest of the day! Hooray! We've also just moved him to napping in his own bed. For the longest time he napped on the couch. When Aspen came along it got too loud and too hard to let him nap on the couch so I moved him to our bed. He's been napping in our bed probably since Aspen was a few weeks old. I need to be able to do laundry and things from my bedroom during nap so we just recently got him to sleep in his bed for a nap. Progress! He's still in a crib, that he doesn't even try to climb out of. My thoughts are to keep him locked up as long as possible! No reason to tempt him to get out of bed when he doesn't need to.

I just celebrated my 31st birthday. Wow. I don't feel old!! But I definitely wouldn't want to go back  to being 25. After a weekend in Boone listening to all the kids over at the bar beside Erin's house until alllllll hours of the morning, I'm so over that. I hate the wooing around outside late at night, the inconsiderate loudness, and their general attitudes. I'd also like to go to bed by 10. Does that mean I'm old?!