Monday, April 22, 2013

A Crown for the Princess

My baby had to get a cranial remolding helmet.  She has a flat spot on the back of her head, on the right side.  I bottle fed her, and shamefully, I only fed her in my left arm, with my right hand.  So, naturally, she turned her head into my breast on that side.  It affected her torsion and when she slept, she also turned her head in that direction.  Because babies have such soft skulls, and we primarily sleep our babies on their backs, it's common for this to happen, and for flat spots to develop.  Matthew had one too, but as he learned to sit, it naturally took care of itself.  Clara's did not.  I wish I had taken her in a couple months ago, but we are where we are.  The guilt runs deep, and I know it's not rational, but I still wish I had done things differently.

Other than Jack's broken arm at birth, this is the hardest thing I've had to do as a parent.  Oh, sure it could be worse.  It could be a life-threatening injury or illness.  But it's still really hard to look at my baby in her little helmet and not see her eyes easily.  It's hard to lay her on her back and hear her whimper.  It's hard to hold her on my lap and not be able to snuggle the top of her soft head.  Yesterday, I took it off after two hours and her head was soaking wet and I just started crying.  She seems happy enough when she's sitting up, but tomorrow we start sleeping her in it.  In a few days' time, she'll be wearing it for 22 hours a day for four or five months.  Sad.  She's such a good sleeper!  Right now she sleeps for 12 - 14 hours a night and I just don't want to disrupt that.  Can you imagine sleeping in this thing?!

I know we'll get through it.  I even know I'll get used to it.  I know she'll get used to it.  And the time will pass and we'll be on to bigger and better things and I will be happy for her nice round head.  And I will be grateful for modern medicine that we can correct this problem while she's young and doesn't know better.

I'll take my moment to be sad, and then I'll press on.  My family has been ridiculously supportive.  Thankful for my mom who has given me license to feel sad.  A couple days ago, she sent me this text:  "It's hard, honey.  My heart hurts twice.  Once for you, and once for Clara."  And from my younger brother who said, "Whew.  I was worried she wasn't going to be a hockey player.  She's awesome."  And for her dad and her brothers who continue to shower her with love and attention.  I am so lucky to have the love and support of all of you on this journey.  Particularly now, but always.  Every day.


Anonymous said...

Awwww! There she is. So stinkin' cute. She is perfect.

You are a good mama. Always.

Thanks for showing us.


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is hard, and if it were me, I'd be all paranoid about strangers' reactions and trying to be really brave and tough about it. But your guilt is misplaced. Trust me. I wrestle guilt to the ground almost every day, and if I'm not allowed to feel guilty, neither are you (because it's not productive and actually harmful to us and our relationships with our kids). You're doing a brave thing, a hard thing, and you're doing it because it is what's best for her. You could have taken the easy route, figured "she's a girl, her hair will cover the flat spot" and not had to suffer like this. But look at her. Look at her. She's gorgeous. She's happy. She's flourishing. Because she has you for a mom. Because you're willing to suffer for her. Lavish forgiveness on yourself just as you would on a friend and get as many pictures as you can of Clara in her princess hat because in five months it'll be gone! (I can't wait to see what suggestions the boys have for decorating it!)

elizabeth said...

Awwww, look at her, so happy in her pink crown. Clearly she really needed it to show everyone who the queen of the castle is, not that you probably didn't already know. :)

The thing I think about guilt sometimes is that, even though it is not particularly useful or true, is that it's a reminder that I am trying to do the best I can, because if I weren't, maybe I wouldn't feel guilty? Who knows, but I find it a helpful thought.

Julie said...

She's so sweet. And I know it's hard not to feel guilt- as a parent, we wish we could protect our kiddos from everything. But you're raising happy, well-adjusted, healthy kiddos and there's so much love in you and your family. She'll make it through just fine because of all of you! I love what your mom and younger brother said. Precious.