We were able to get Squidgey into PT on Wednesday afternoon, and they did confirm that he has mild torticollis on his right side. This means his muscle on that side is tighter/shortened, like if you fall asleep with your head to one side and your neck tightens up. Like that, except it’s been going on for a while so it’s kind of stuck that way (probably since the womb).
His range of motion is limited; he’s unable to fully turn his head so that his chin is over his right shoulder and he’s unable to keep it upright with his chin in the middle of his body-it sinks so that the his right cheek is down towards his chest with his chin and his gaze going to the left. He will be going to weekly PT sessions for the next 4-6 months to strengthen and correct this. I also have a series of stretches I need to do with him 3 times a day. And of course, all the tummy time he will tolerate. The good news is that it is mild-he can turn his head pretty far to the right, just not all the way. He can hold his head up straight, just not all the time.
The flat spot is something that needs to be evaluated by a plastics or orthotics specialist to determine if it is bad enough to warrant a helmet or if it will likely mold itself back with increased tummy time and positioning so he’s off of it. At first I couldn’t get him an appointment for that until mid-December, but I went through the other hospital network and found him one next week.
They told us to basically discontinue using anything that puts pressure on the back of his head-swing, car seat (except, obviously, in the car), bouncy seat, play mat, etc. (He’s still too floppy for bumbos and exersaucers). Of course, he doesn’t want to be on his stomach 24-7, nor can I be watching or holding him all that time. I do have to put him down to sit somewhere occasionally-to pee, wash bottles, and just take a freaking break. But I’m intensely paranoid about every second I do, worrying that it is making his flat spot worse.
I am also kicking myself for not noticing it sooner. Now that we’ve been to PT, all I can see is how his head drifts down to the right side, and how flat the back of his head looks. At his 3 month appointment, his doctor did say, “make sure he is getting lots of good tummy time.” And I wondered, “Is that a general warning he gives everyone, or does he see something off about Squidgey’s head?” I’ve been returning to that question more and more over the last few weeks as I eyed his head, and resolved to bring it up at his 4 month appointment, if the doctor didn’t.
I don’t remember if I actually thought it when the doctor first said it and if I did, why I didn’t press him. Did the question get lost in all the other things I was stressing about-his eating, etc.? Did I subconsciously let it slide because I didn’t want to hear the answer? Did I self-edit because I didn’t want to be *that* mom-the over-protective hypochondriac? I don’t know. But I feel guilty all the same.
So, the helmet…I can’t decide how I feel about that. Do I want my baby to be the different, weird, helmet kid that everybody points at? Not really. Do I want to do what’s best for him and make sure this is corrected before it starts affecting his facial features and making him lopsided? Yes. The added benefit of the helmet is that once he’s in it, I can stop stressing about making it worse when he is sitting with his head against stuff or sleeping in bed, because the helmet keeps the pressure off of that spot.
And I’m having a little bit of a pity party-like didn’t we go through enough with weight gain, the allergies and eating, now we have to deal with this? I would have liked a little bit of a honeymoon period where we could just enjoy Squidge, without this nagging concern in the back of our minds. And to everyone who is all “Welcome to parenting, it’s always something, if they’re not teething, they have a cold, etc.,” I say um, fuck you. Because it’s not like Squidge won’t also get teeth, colds, etc., it will just be on top of the other shit.