Feeling Symmetrical

At this moment, we are about as proud as you could possibly be of a 9-month-old baby boy. Yesterday, Beau received the go-ahead to cease wearing the corrective helmet he started to sport in July. The good news came about a month and a half early as medical professionals originally said he would most likely have to wear it up until Christmas. We aren’t complaining.

This was Beau’s first day in his helmet.

Pre-helmet, Beau’s head was flat in the back, most likely misshaped due to the way he slept during his first couple months of life. Additionally, his ears weren’t symmetrical with the rest of his head. The writing was on the wall and we knew he would receive a healthy dose of helmet therapy. The time to start the treatment came this summer as Beau started making visits to our friends at the Hanger Clinic.

This was Beau’s last day in his helmet.

The prosthetist at the clinic performed specific measurements on Beau’s head to build him a custom helmet. Once his headgear was available, it was our job to make sure he wore it. For 23 hours a day, Beau dutifully wore his “space helmet” (as I called it). When it was time for Beau to take a bath, the helmet would come off and Sid would scrub his little head. While my wife was washing him in the tub, I would take the helmet and clean it by scrubbing it with a toothbrush dipped in shampoo.

This little helmet made a BIG difference.

During those summer months his head would get really hot, his sparse hair drenched in sweat when we took the helmet off to give him a breather. It was also a balancing act at the start as a therapist likened the helmet’s weight on his neck to a “bowling ball on a toothpick.” Additionally, welts would form on his sensitive skin during those initial days. But despite these early challenges, the adjustment wasn’t that bad—for Beau or us.

Some photos of Beau in his helmet.

It just all became routine. Beau got used to the helmet quickly and didn’t allow it to hinder his movement, sleep, or happiness. In fact, when we would take it off, he would actually tap his head wondering where his hat went. For Sid and I, it became second nature. Of course the helmet wasn’t invisible but it never phased us. It was just part of Beau and we never thought of it as abnormal.

Beau at the Hanger Clinic on Monday getting his final scan to finalize his progress.

As for others? We would get some stares and a question every now and then, but it was never like Beau was an oddity. If anything, we quickly found out that babies wearing helmets are much more common than we thought. Much of the feedback we received from both acquaintances and strangers was that they either knew a baby who had to wear one or raised a helmet-clad infant themselves.

Beau and I moments before he went with his mommy to his final appointment at the Hanger Clinic.

The coolest part of the helmet journey was watching the progress. Within a week we could already see a difference in the shape of Beau’s head. Sid would take Beau in every month to the Hanger Clinic and they would re-size his helmet by grinding it so that his head could continue to form in a symmetrical manner. At each monthly session, the prosthetist was extremely pleased with how things were progressing. It became increasingly evident that Beau would be getting out of his five-month sentence early.

A look at the progression of Beau’s head from pre-helmet to post-helmet. The arrows point to the flat spot on his head.

And yesterday was that day. Although Beau had grown comfortable wearing the helmet and we had started to admire how it protected his head against hard appliances, we were happy to see it come off. We can now kiss his head, not worry about nasty head butts, and get that family portrait taken. Sidney is especially excited for Beau to get his first haircut.

A look at Beau’s progress. The head diagram shows pre-treatment (dotted line) and present state (solid line). Also, Beau started with a diagonal difference of 16 mm. He now has a 4 mm difference. A normal person ranges from a 3-6 diagonal difference 🙂

Beau’s time in his helmet flew by and we are thankful for that. We are also thankful for the unmistakable results. Beau’s head is now normal and we don’t have to worry about dealing with it down the road. Thanks be to God! Don’t Blink.

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