Harvey's Hat

It's no secret that I love hats. I always have. In third grade, I'm pretty sure I was the first kid to wear a hat in their school photo. Seriously. The hat was denim and big, with an even bigger flower attached, but it made a statement. And I was all about statements. Since then, I've transitioned to everything from baseball caps to fedoras. When I met Matthew, I also pulled him on the hat train. He discovered he looked pretty cute in hats too.

Stewart doesn't like hats, but he doesn't eat them either, so that's good.

Before I even had Harvey and knew he was a boy, I bought three newsboy hats for him. I knew inside he'd be a boy, and it was my duty as a hat-loving mom to provide him with the largest selection of toppers for that sweet head.

What I didn't realize was that my sweet babe was going to get a different kind of hat. One that he couldn't take off when he wanted to or switch out to match with outfits.

Our new "hat" journey started when he was just eight weeks old. Matthew noticed a significant flat spot on the side of his head. I was in new mom bliss and thought Harvey was absolutely perfect (which he is), but we decided to bring it up to his pediatrician at his two month apt. Our doctor didn't think too much of it and said his head would probably round out on its own, but that we'd take a closer look at four months. Eight weeks passed with not much improvement, and we're back in the doctor's office. He recommended we visit a plastic surgeon at Children's Mercy who specializes in heads (I'm sure there's a smarter way to describe the guy...).

My first thought is: "Children's Mercy, that's where the sick kids go. That's where babies who need special care end up." And then I cried. I blamed myself. "Why didn't I do more tummy time?!"

We visited Dr. Jiang at Children's Mercy and he called Harvey's flat spot "severe" (also called plagiocephaly, for all you smarties). More tears followed. He then tasked us with keeping little man off his back, except when he sleeps, for the next six weeks. Again more tears, because as a new mom, how do you get by without the vibrating chair?! I had to hold my child or put him in a sling ALL DAY long for six weeks. There goes any sliver of "me time" I had left during the day.

Surprisingly, six weeks flew by and we saw some improvement with Harvey's head, but not enough. Dr. Jiang recommended we get the helmet, but because it's cosmetic, the decision to do it was completely up to us. At first the decision seemed hard, there were a few things to factor in:

1. The cost. If insurance didn't cover it, it could be up to 3K.
2. My baby's overall discomfort. I didn't want to put a helmet on him in the heat of the summer.
3. There was the possibility it could improve on its own, but we just didn't know how much.

But the biggest thing hanging over my head was "What if we don't do it and it doesn't get better on its own?" "What if he comes home crying from school because the kids made fun of his head shape, and I know that I could have prevented it?"

That thought was all it took for me to realize that even though he might be a tad uncomfortable while he adjusted to his new "hat", we would be doing what's best for him in the long run.

So, at six months old, Harvey got fitted for the hat he'd be wearing 23 hours a day for three to six months.

getting ready to have his head scanned for a perfect fit

hooked up to the scanner!
didn't take long to get adjusted to his new "hat"

The first week went smoother than I thought. Little man was a trooper and by day five, he was taking naps in his helmet and by day seven was wearing it 23 hours a day. I've read and heard that after a while, the helmet becomes a part of him and it's almost strange to see them without it. I haven't gotten to that point yet. The moment I take it off him before bath, I smother that sweet head with kisses. I miss seeing his wispy hair and nuzzling his neck without getting a mouthful of plastic, but I know he's doing fine. And I know it's temporary. And as soon as Harvey's head is back to perfect, I'll give him a few weeks of showing off his sweet new dome before the hats come back.

Harvey has completed his first month with his helmet and is showing great improvement!

I also want to take a minute to thank those who have approached us, whether they be friends or strangers, and told us their helmet story. It's so encouraging to hear that we're doing the right thing and that we're not alone!

- Melina


1 comment:

  1. Great story and it takes a lot to share something personal. Harvey is so cute!! I love his little hat.