During my pregnancy, Mason spent most of his days nestled in my rib cage. I remember pleading with him to scoot down just a smidgen so I could feel a bit of relief. However, his siblings just didn’t leave him any space to move. In my ribs he remained. After delivery, I noticed a rib on my right side was shifted out of alignment, but Mason seemed fine. After discharge from the NICU, we noticed him struggling to keep his head upright. After an occupational therapy evaluation, we learned that his neck muscles were weak on the left side causing him to drop his head to the right. After months of occupational therapy, there was concern regarding not only his neck muscles but also his head shape. An evaluation at Cranial Technologies revealed severe Plagiocephaly, or oblique head shape.
We made the difficult decision to have him fitted for a DOC band to correct his head shape. Although treatment was estimated to last 2-3 months, Mason endured treatment for a grueling 5 months. In the beginning, he didn’t mind wearing the band 23 hours a day, and we thought he was adorable wearing it. His new accessory seemed to highlight his dreamy brown eyes and huge dimples. I also enjoyed having one on one time with him as I took him for adjustments on a weekly basis. We anticipated that he would complete treatment prior to the onset of a hot Texas summer, but he just wasn’t done by then. He ended up outgrowing the first DOC band and was evaluated a second time. Based upon evaluation results, Mason was fitted for a second DOC band.
Over the past several weeks, our entire family became increasingly tired of Mason’s DOC band. I grew tired of figuring out how to take him to appointments while caring for the other babies, George grew tired of decorating and touching up the paint, but worst of all Mason grew tired of wearing it. For the first time, he started unfastening the Velcro on the side and pulling at it. It pained me to force him to continue wearing it when clearly he was D-O-N-E. This past Friday he began crying when we put it on him as if really bothered by it. Upon removal of the band, we noticed two red spots forming. One was on the center of his forehead and the other on his left temple. Since Cranial Technologies is not open on weekends, Mason got a weekend long break from the DOC band and he seemed so happy. On Monday, I called the clinic so he could be adjusted that afternoon.
My friend, Kristin, happened to be hanging out with us on Monday so she helped me tote all four babies to Cranial Technologies for Mason’s appointment. It was the first time I brought all four babies together to the clinic, and the staff finally got to see the full set.
Mason’s occupational therapist at Cranial Technologies examined his head and was ecstatic with his progress. She reported that his ears and cheeks were now even, and the back of his skull rounded out. Amen! It was a slow day at the clinic so Cindy asked if I wanted Mason to have his exit images taken. What? EXIT? Hallelujah! Within a few short minutes, Mason was dressed down to his diaper, fitted with a stocking cap and his noggin was photographed with a 360 degree camera. We were then taken to a small room where Cindy showed us before treatment, mid treatment, and after pictures of Mason’s head from all angles. It was reaffirming to see how much progress he made. Before we left, Mason was given a DOC Band Graduation diploma and we thanked Cindy for helping him. While DOC band treatment was far longer than we anticipated, George and I will never regret what it did for Mason and I hope he realizes the benefits later in life.
I didn’t anticipate Mason’s graduation and I didn’t have my camera, but I snapped a few pictures using my phone to commemorate the big day.