When I was about 18 weeks pregnant, the doctor felt Scout’s head. With her hand. She was low. Like really, really low. When Scout was born, it was pretty apparent that she was wedged nicely in the birth canal for those last 20 weeks, because the back of her head was very flat.
For our first four monthly check-ups, I asked our pediatrician if Scout was going to need a baby helmet. Every time I asked (and looked like a horrible parent), the pediatrician said, “Nah, I think her head will start to round out. She should be fine.” That was up until her four month check-up (that’s a fun one, complete with five vaccines), when I was told that maybe it was worth meeting with a specialist. She gave me the telephone numbers of two different children’s hospitals within 40 minutes of us and told me to call and make an appointment. Bonus: Griffin was coming along for the ride. What kind of mother would I be if I only got a helmet for one of my children?
I called The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, scheduled an appointment with the craniofacial department, and brought both babies in with a diagnosis of deformational plagiocephaly. Say that three times fast. It’s fun and doesn’t sound scary at all. At all.
I’d like to preface this next part with the fact that I am not a defensive mother. This being said, I was so under prepared for the nastiness that came in with the doctor we met. I signed in, filled out 30 pages of paperwork (that’s 15 per child), went back to the examining room, and was met with the first monster of the morning, a lovely nurse practitioner who pointed out how big Griffin’s ears were and that he had a “giant” head. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that “giant” isn’t a medical term used to describe the size of things. Thanks lady, you have a dumb haircut. She then told me that both babies would 100% qualify for helmets, but the doctor would need to come in and sign off on it. Well, come in and sign off he did.
You might think that while at the children’s hospital, the doctors and staff would be overly warm and understanding. You might be wrong. Said doctor spoke not to me, but only to the nurse practitioner, who then translated to me, because apparently I could never understand what this doctor was saying. Break it down for me, please. At one point, after being told the helmets would be for a purely cosmetic outcome (which was explained loudly and slowly to me, “it is just to make them look better”), I asked, “If these were your children, or I was someone you knew, what would you do?” “These are not my children, and you are not someone I know,” he reminded me. That’s right folks, this man was a doll. I am being kind enough not to post his name, but please know that I will gladly give it out via private message. Feel free to ask. From there, I packed the babies up and headed home with my scripts and letters of medical necessity (necessity is a fancy word that means needed. Another helpful translation from the nurse practitioner).
Fortunately, if we choose to go through with the helmets, we won’t have to see this doctor until we’re done the process. We’ll meet with a helmet maker, who will make all of the adjustments to the helmets. Hopefully her bedside manner is a little better than Dr. Crankypants.