Hayes's Noggin – Part 2 {doc band results}

Back in February, we visited Cranial Technologies for the first time in Charlotte. We had been referred there by our pediatrician to look into correcting Hayes’s head shape. For the most part this was a completely cosmetic issue, but because Hayes is a boy, we thought he’d appreciate us doing everything we could to help him with this.

These are some pictures that I took of his profile around Christmas time

Hayes loved to sit up and try to crawl. When he was awake he was never flat on his back. But when he slept, he slept directly on the back of his head. He never moved and rarely turned his head. It wasn’t until after he got the doc band that he started sleeping on his stomach.

Our visits to Cranial Technologies were very pleasant and I’m so thankful that we went ahead with the process. About a week after we decided to go forward with getting the doc band, Todd’s firm was bought by a much larger firm, and we switched insurance providers. Our previous insurance provider denied coverage for the doc band. And the new provider accepted it. We didn’t pay a dime.

We didn’t know this when we decided to go forward with the doc band for Hayes, but we did take a big leap of faith. We are so happy that it was covered. But we are even happier that we did this for Hayes. The results are just remarkable.

I’ve said before that we only a couple of instances with children staring or talking about him, which were, of course, more hurtful to me than to Hayes. And the only “issue” Hayes had was that he’d get hot occasionally and get some minor heat rash.

We went for our “graduation” appointment the other day and Hayes had the same pictures taken that he had at his very first consultation. He got a little certificate and we got to bring home his doc band (never to wear it again) and the actual size mold of Hayes’s head from the beginning of the process.

I shared this whole process because I want other mothers who have to make this decision to know that someone else has gone through it. I was so very thankful for the friends and readers who shared their experiences with me. I also wanted to help “educate” anyone who wasn’t familiar with this process and treatment.

So the before and after pictures. We are so excited about the results and Hayes will never know the difference. The “before” photos were taken in February, about two months after the pictures I posted above. I can tell that once he started crawling, his head started rounding out more just on its own.

And the “after” pictures were taken two weeks ago. I think the changes are just remarkable!

Bless his little heart. The look on his face in both of these pictures just makes me laugh. But here I can see how his facial symmetry corrected, especially in his cheeks and ears.

In this picture, you can see how his head grew longer from front to back where it had been wider and more round before.

And in this angle, his face is less wide and grew “back,” bringing his cheeks into a more symmetrical place.

So, those are the results. We’re really pleased with them. It took a bit of courage for me to post these and I pray that any comments will be kind toward my baby boy.

I am happy to answer any questions about the process! We’re just thankful for a good experience and glad that the last four months went by so quickly.



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an eventful Tuesday

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. Our wonderful babysitter, Mrs. Becky, arrived at our house around 8:45. I always schedule any appointments for Tuesday mornings and always plan to run my errands at that time. Mrs. Becky is going to come every Tuesday morning this summer unless we’re out of town– and she didn’t come last week because of VBS.

Hayes had a doc band appointment in Lexington, and Hudson was going to stay at home with Mrs. Becky since he has the beginning stages of a sickness. I’m just hoping it’s not hand foot and mouth.

Hayes and I went to his appointment where he toddled around the hallway and made friends with all of the big athletes and physical therapists at the clinic. He’s still getting used to walking in shoes. He prefers to walk barefoot.

This was his very last regular appointment. Next week we’ll go back to Charlotte for his “exit” appointment. They have to do all of the big scans and photographs in Charlotte instead of at the Lexington satellite clinic. Hayes and I have both loved all of the staff and therapists with Cranial Technology. I can’t believe in one week we’ll be completely done with this process. And Hayes’s little noggin is looking so good.

I’m very thankful for the time on Tuesday mornings that Mrs. Becky is going to come this summer. The boys adore her and we feel so comfortable having her at the house. Without MDO or preschool, there are very few days when I get a little bit of time to myself to get out and run some errands. It’s amazing how many more errands I can run when it’s just me.

I either like to schedule any doctor, dentist, or hair appointments for Tuesdays or have Hayes’s appointments on Tuesdays. Today after Hayes’s appointment, I dropped him back off at home and got him settled down for a nap. Then I had a long list of things I needed to get done.

First I ran and picked up two gifts for a couple of new mothers-to-be. Then I ran to drop off my watch with the jeweler. After that, I stopped into Starbucks. I brought my computer with me and just sat at a table by myself and responded to as many emails as I could and did a little bit of blog maintenance. (I try so hard to stay off the computer in the evenings, so this time was great for me today.) Todd and I found a bunch of Starbucks gift cards this weekend in the container where we keep our mail, so I was in need of a latte!

I ended up running by the grocery store to pick up a few things and then I dropped them off at home before I ran to pick up Todd from work. Todd and I have only had lunch together about five times in the last three years. And today seemed like a great opportunity! It was so relaxing and just great to be with him in the middle of the day. What a fun surprise!

By noon, I felt like I had accomplished so much! I got home to feed the boys lunch and put them down for naps. I laid down with Hudson for about an hour and read to him until he fell asleep. It was just a nice afternoon.

We had a Holiday Market Decorations meeting tonight and then I came home to finish up some decorations for a women’s event at church tomorrow night.

It was an unusually eventful day, but I’m glad I was able to knock out so many things. And just so, so thankful for Mrs. Becky and her willingness to come every Tuesday morning when we need her.




a doc band update- the final stretch

It has been such a long time since I’ve updated on Hayes’s doc band experience and progress. The only reason for that is that it has become such a normal part of our lives that I often forget he’s even wearing it.

In the first two weeks that he had his band, I was really self-conscious about it anytime we’d go out in public. I wanted to shield him from people that might stare too long at church or a restaurant. If I was shopping, I knew that someone would stop and ask. And really, in those first couple of weeks, I was not only the most self-conscious, but that’s also when the most people actually asked about it.

The only negative experience I had was when we were walking at the State House grounds one day and we passed by a group of 3rd or 4th graders on a field trip. A little girl shouted to her classmates, “Look at that baby’s head! What’s the matter with him?!” And my mama bear protective instincts really started to kick in. I wanted to say something to her, but I just looked at her and smiled. I wanted to say, “Where is your mother so I can have a chat with her?” But I didn’t.

And that was the only negative thing I’ve heard anyone say. We’ve had a lot of curious little children come up to me and just ask what the “helmet” is for and I try to explain the best way I can.

But after a couple of weeks, I stopped even remembering that he was wearing it. I didn’t worry about what people thought, because I didn’t even notice it. It’s just a part of him right now.

Our experience with the kind folks at Cranial Technologies has been wonderful. We got the doc band in the beginning of March. For two months, every two weeks, Hayes and I (sometimes Hudson, too) would drive up to Charlotte very early in the morning for Hayes’s appointment. We were always seen within 5 minutes of arriving and when just doing adjustments, the visits were very quick. We were in and out in twenty minutes. And I’d always stop at the drive through Starbucks in Fort Mill, SC on the way back to Columbia while Hayes napped in his car seat.

At the end of April, we were notified that Cranial Technologies was opening a small satellite office in Lexington, SC, which is just down the road from us. So our two visits this month have been just ten minutes away from our house as opposed to the 90 minute drive we had to Charlotte every two weeks.

At our visit on Tuesday morning, we found out that Hayes just has 2-4 weeks left with his doc band! I’m so excited. His head has grown 3 centimeters over the last three months. I can tell a very noticeable difference and I can’t wait to share the “before” and “after.”

For the most part, Hayes doesn’t mind his band a bit. It doesn’t bother him to sleep in it and it has served as a great “crash helmet” as he has learned to walk. The only downside at this point is the heat. So whenever we go on a walk in the middle of the 90 degree day, I usually use that time for him to get a break from it.

If I notice that he’s sweaty underneath, I’ll take it off to let him cool off. When we went to the aquarium and the zoo and spent a lot of time outside in the heat, I left the doc band in the bottom of the stroller, so Hayes didn’t get too hot. He has had a few little episodes of heat rash on his forehead, but it goes away within a few hours. We were told to leave the band off when he has some heat rash.

It really has been a wonderful experience. I’m eager to see the final results. The time flew by and I’m so impressed with my little trooper who wasn’t even fazed by it. His hair is a little funny right now and sticks up at the top of his head, but when the occupational therapists slick his hair down, I can really see how symmetrical and round his head is looking.

I hope that our story will encourage other mamas who are having to decide whether or not to do this. We’re thankful that insurance ended up covering it because that was truly our biggest concern. But we’re in the final stretch and I’m really proud of how well my happy baby boy has done.

Doc Band- Week 1

Hayes and I just returned from Charlotte for his one week doc band follow up.

We got his doc band on March 12 at 9:30 a.m. We spent a few hours killing time in Charlotte and having lunch with Katie again. (Thank you, Katie, for always coming to entertain us!) And then we went back for his quick little follow up to make sure that the doc band was fitting properly. It was! Thank goodness. We had a doc band that fit and we were going to take it home with us!

wearing his adorable Anavini super hero john john from She She Made

Over the past week, things have gone really well. The doc band is very light weight and it doesn’t bother Hayes a bit. He actually acts like he doesn’t even know it’s there.

For the first two days, I had to take the band off of him every three hours to do “skin checks.” I was checking for red spots. If I saw a red spot, I was supposed to leave the doc band off of him for an hour- or until the spots went away. But if they weren’t gone within the hour I needed to call Cranial Technologies and let them know.

The first day, there were a couple of tiny spots, but they faded within 10-20 minutes. The second day there weren’t any spots at all. The band is a really good fit.

He was pretty sweaty for the first couple of days, but he got used to the extra heat, too. And I haven’t been putting socks on him, so I can help keep his overall body temperature down. It has really warmed up in Columbia, so he has just been dressing cooler in general. I just want to make sure he’s comfortable and doesn’t get too hot.

Hayes did great when it came to sleep. He has adjusted so well and hasn’t been affected by the band at all when he sleeps. I’m so thankful now that he has it and I know his head isn’t going to continue to get flatter while he sleeps.

But, guess what. He’s now sleeping on his stomach! He’s such a rascal!

And guess what else. We received notification that our insurance is going to cover the cost of the band. So, as far as we know, we’re in the clear there. We could not be more grateful and are so thankful to God for taking care of us in this way.

We had our first follow up this morning in Charlotte. I scheduled a really early appointment, so Hayes and I could go up to Charlotte and get back in time to pick up Hudson from school. His appointment this morning was at 8:15 (it’s a 90 minute drive) and we were back home by 10:00! Having an early appointment helps it to not completely disrupt everyone’s day and I’m glad to have it out of the way.

His head has grown 2 millimeters in the last week. And we compared his little head mold to his current head shape and we can already see a lot of improvement. I’m very encouraged with the progress. Especially since he is already 10.5 months old and improvement is supposed to take longer when they get older.

We’ll go back to Charlotte again in two weeks for another adjustment and measurement. I’m so thankful that Hayes is such a laid back, easy going kid. He just rides up there and babbles to himself. He takes a bottle and then takes a nap. He’s such a trooper.

It sounds strange, but with him doing so much cruising and standing on his own these days, there are lots of tumbles and falls. The band has really come in handy. It’s his little crash helmet!

I’m sure some people are curious if we plan to have his band decorated. I’ve actually just started looking into that. A local friend of mine has given me some tips based on what she did for her son. I was concerned about having it painted because I didn’t want to commit to a certain design – and then have it take away from his little outfits or just become something that we are tired of. But my friend recommended a woman who makes decals, and you can switch the decals out for different outfits, holidays, etc. I think I just want them to say “Hayes.” Something simple, but still cute.

I plan to do a little doc band update with each appointment, so we can document the progress for ourselves and for anyone else who is interested in how things are going.

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