Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Our Journey with Positional Plagiocephaly

Now that our journey with Avery's positional plagiocephaly has passed, and I wanted to take a minute and write down our experience with wearing a helmet and my thoughts overall on the process. Positional Plagiocephaly is the long medical term for when a baby has a flat area or asymmetrical head. I've had several friends with babies message me or talk to me about their concerns about their baby's head and what happened with Avery- so if this can help anyone out there, then I'm all for it.



I guess Avery's story begins at birth when it comes to the shape of her head. She was delivered with the assistance of a vacuum, and from the get go she had an odd shaped head. Her left side protruded more and wasn't as round as her right side. If you know anything about positional plagiocephaly, then you know that doctors will tell you its from laying your baby on the same side or back of their head for prolonged periods causing a flat spot. And while that may be true, I am just not convinced that its the sole reason that Avery had a flat spot. Her head was oddly shaped from day one, and I feel like no matter how much tummy time I did or time spent off the back of her head, it just didn't correct itself.

Another thing that I think may have contributed is the fact that she slept in her swing in our room for three months. Landon was in his crib at four weeks old, and when he slept he turned his head to the side. Avery slept in her swing and was on the back of her head all night long. During the day, I followed the tummy time guidelines and held her in her Solly wrap a lot to try and keep her off the back of her head. It just wouldn't correct itself.

Avery's flat spot was directly on the back, her head was wider at the back than the front. After monitoring it and seeing if it would correct itself for four months, our pediatrician referred us to a plastic surgeon at Brenner Children's Hospital to have her head evaluated for positional plagiocephaly. We met with the plastic surgeon, did some scans on her head, and it was advised that Avery wear a cranial prosthesis, or helmet, to help correct her flat area.

Let's be honest, no one wants their child to be anything less than perfect. No one wants them to have to wear glasses, or braces, or anything else cosmetic that may draw attention to them. No one wants their baby to be sick or in the hospital. I know that wearing a helmet is not the end of the world, and I also know that if this is the worse we face with Avery we are incredibly lucky, but that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed when we found out that she needed a helmet. I took it personally, that I didn't do my job at home to prevent or correct this quick enough. After all, I was the one at home with her all day and the one who was more responsible for tummy time. I worried about her discomfort and sleeping with the helmet. At the time she was a terrible sleeper and we didn't need this thing to make matters worse for us.

Honestly, the last thing I was concerned about was what other people thought- I couldn't care less if they ask questions or look at her. Helmets are more common now, but you'd be surprised how many people still asked us why she wore it or what was wrong with her. The other thing that made me a little sad that she had to wear this was that I wouldn't be able to snuggle her or kiss her head like I previously had. Now, this big ol helmet was in the way.

We were then referred to an orthotics and prosthetics place that had her helmet customized to her head size and shape. We learned how to care and clean for it and the rules of wearing her helmet. Twenty three hours a day, for three to six months. We knew her plagiocephaly wasn't severe, so we were optimistic that we would be on the three month end of the time frame instead of the six month end. That would put her getting it off in July and we'd have one good month of the summer without worrying about the heat or sweat.

I would say the helmet was definitely more of an adjustment for John and me than it was for Avery. She really didn't seem to mind wearing it, it didn't affect her sleep. She never fussed when we were taking it on and off. We only and one hiccup early on when we went in and she had the beginnings of a small pressure spot on the back of her head, but it cleared up quickly and we never had any issues going forward. I can't stress the importance of cleaning it regularly and making sure its not causing any red spots on your baby's head.


We went to the beach while Avery was still wearing her helmet, and it definitely affected our week simply because she couldn't be on the beach for very long with us. We are a family that goes out right after breakfast and doesn't come back in until it is time for supper. Now, we had to watch the clock to make sure she didn't have it off for too long and take her back inside, bathe her and put it back on. The prosthetic people did tell us not to let it ruin our vacation, that she could leave it off for longer than an hour a day while we were there, but under no circumstances could the helmet be worn on the beach. We didn't want to risk any sand getting inside the helmet and irritating her skin or causing any issues. We left it off for max about three hours during the day, and then took her back inside the house. No, it didn't ruin our vacation- but it was definitely more of an inconvenience.

We were so incredibly excited when we were told that she could stop wearing it after only two months. She had really big growth spurts and showed a ton of progress, which we are so thankful for. Looking back, the two months flew by. Going for check ups every two weeks helps it pass quicker, and if we had to wear it longer we would have just kept on trucking knowing that it was the best thing for Avery. She has tons of summers going forward to swim and be outside, just a few months this summer really isn't much in the grand scheme of things.

I think as a parent, its best to keep it in perspective. Things could be so much worse. She could have a serious health issue versus just a cosmetic one. We consider ourselves blessed that her health is perfect, and now her noggin is too!









Oak Island 2016

I have been meaning this summer to sit down and write more on this blog of mine. More than just the monthly updates on Avery and what she's up to, at least. It really has been an incredibly busy summer though and sitting at this computer has been the farthest thing from my mind.

At the beginning of June we went to the beach with my family for a week. We love Oak Island, NC and its simplicity, its no secret that we love Southport- and we really just jump at any chance we get to be near the coast. We've been going there so long that it feels like a second home! Our week was full of great weather, lots of boogey boarding for Landon and lots of just hanging on the beach soaking in some sun and salt air.

I was super thankful to have my parents and sister and brother in law there to help us with our kids. Two kids on vacation really isn't a vacation for parents, so we were incredibly lucky to have them there to hand her off or ask my mom to walk with her on the beach while we relaxed for a few minutes.  Avery still had her helmet at that point and could only be on the beach for a couple hours a day. Not to mention, she is super fair skinned and we kept her safely in the shade the majority of the time. She was only in the sun for a few pictures, cooling off in the surf. I kind of hate that her first beach trip was clouded by dealing with her helmet, but over all she did amazing and by the end of the week wasn't so freaked out by the sand or water!

Landon grew to love the water even more than he already did. Aunt Becky and Uncle Tommy gave him a boogie board for Christmas, and they probably win the award for most loved gift ever. He would boogie board all day, everyday if we'd let him! I really enjoyed watching him play and be so fearless in the water. He is a go getter, will try anything, and simply loves life. It was such a  blessing to sit on the shoreline and watch him that week. He teaches me daily what it means to live freely, live whole, and be completely in the moment. That little boy is the happiest, and it is such an honor and gift to be his mama.




















Our first vacation as a family of four, in the books!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Avery Kate | 8 Months


Little girl turned eight months old last week. I kind of dread these monthly posts at this point because its just a countdown to her first birthday, and I'm really not ready for her to become less baby and more toddler!

This past month has been fun- she's been the sweetest, most content baby. She is full of personality, on the verge of so many big milestones, and is just a happy baby. She is in size three diapers, and six month clothes. I'm slowly pulling some nine month things out of her closet though to start wearing! She still eats about six ounces every three hours or so, and is still sleeping through the night, yay!

She has two teeth, has learned to clap and wave, and is just about to crawl. She's trying her hardest to get on all fours, but just hasn't done it yet. She moves EVERYWHERE though by army crawling and rolling.

Her favorite toys are anything that isn't hers- any cars or blocks of Landon's. She loves riding in her stroller, she loves going in the pool, and she loves watching her big brother an all his crazy antics. He still gets the best giggles and smiles out of her!


She has finally decided solid foods aren't that bad, and will eat almost anything I offer her. She definitely has a preference for sweets, can you blame her? Foods she's tried and seems to like are avocado, banana, apples, pears, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. I need to make more foods that aren't sweet so she learns to like them also- but I'm just happy that she's finally eating after three months of trying.

How can we forget the biggest milestone of this month...she is helmet free!!! The week of July 4th we went for a follow up appointment, and they were pleased with her progress and results and told us she was ready to call it quits. We were super lucky that she only had to wear it for two months- these hot summer days were hard on her, and hard on us having to keep her inside mostly. We are so happy that she did so well with it, and beyond thankful that those days are behind us. Bring on the bows! She has quite a head of hair now also!


We love our Avery girl, and the joy she brings to our family. Her infectious little grin and silly giggle. We love that she is happy and easy going and I love that she's such a mama's girl. I never dreamed of having a daughter, but God sure knew what He was doing when He gave us sweet Avery.





Avery Katie | 8 Months


Little girl turned eight months old last week. I kind of dread these monthly posts at this point because its just a countdown to her first birthday, and I'm really not ready for her to become less baby and more toddler!

This past month has been fun- she's been the sweetest, most content baby. She is full of personality, on the verge of so many big milestones, and is just a happy baby. She is in size three diapers, and six month clothes. I'm slowly pulling some nine month things out of her closet though to start wearing! She still eats about six ounces every three hours or so, and is still sleeping through the night, yay!

She has two teeth, has learned to clap and wave, and is just about to crawl. She's trying her hardest to get on all fours, but just hasn't done it yet. She moves EVERYWHERE though by army crawling and rolling.

Her favorite toys are anything that isn't hers- any cars or blocks of Landon's. She loves riding in her stroller, she loves going in the pool, and she loves watching her big brother an all his crazy antics. He still gets the best giggles and smiles out of her!


She has finally decided solid foods aren't that bad, and will eat almost anything I offer her. She definitely has a preference for sweets, can you blame her? Foods she's tried and seems to like are avocado, banana, apples, pears, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. I need to make more foods that aren't sweet so she learns to like them also- but I'm just happy that she's finally eating after three months of trying.

How can we forget the biggest milestone of this month...she is helmet free!!! The week of July 4th we went for a follow up appointment, and they were pleased with her progress and results and told us she was ready to call it quits. We were super lucky that she only had to wear it for two months- these hot summer days were hard on her, and hard on us having to keep her inside mostly. We are so happy that she did so well with it, and beyond thankful that those days are behind us. Bring on the bows! She has quite a head of hair now also!


We love our Avery girl, and the joy she brings to our family. Her infectious little grin and silly giggle. We love that she is happy and easy going and I love that she's such a mama's girl. I never dreamed of having a daughter, but God sure knew what He was doing when He gave us sweet Avery.





Saturday, June 25, 2016

Avery Kate | Seven Months

Avery turned seven months old the day before we left for vacation, and in the chaos of trying to pack for a family of four to go to the beach, I just didn't have it in me to write out her monthly post or take pictures. This month has been such a big month for her though, that I still wanted to jot down some of her milestones and I took a few pictures of her one night at the beach.



At seven months old she probably weighs about 16.5 lbs, but we won't have another weight until we go to her nine month well check. She's wearing 3-6 month clothing still, and size 2 diapers. She still has blonde hair and blue eyes and soft pale skin. I'm pretty sure she will need to buy stock in sunscreen throughout her life, lol!

She is still taking a 5-6 ounce bottle every three hours like clockwork. She does really well with her bottles and I love that she's predictable with her schedule now so that I can plan for the day. We are still working on solids. She really isn't great with them and still spits most of her food out. I've tried oatmeal, apples, avocado, sweet potato, and pear. Pears seem to be the winner for her and were the food that she finally (just this week!) started actually opening her mouth for more of. Sweet potato seems to be her least favorite, which is interesting because Landon could live off of "orange potatoes." We're making some progress, but I can't believe its been almost two months of solids and she still hasn't really gained any interest. We will get there!

She's still taking a morning and afternoon nap, usually about 2 hours each, and is still sleeping through the night (whoohoo!). Bedtime for her is usually between 8-9pm and she wakes up between 7-8am. She has started wanting to snuggle for  a few minutes before we lay her down, which I don't complain about. Overall she is far less snuggly than Landon was or is. Landon is my child who asks to crawl up on the couch every night to snuggle before bedtime. Maybe we can convert Avery, right?

This month she learned to sit up independently. I by no means want to rush her growing up, but I love this milestone. Life gets just a little bit easier when you can actually sit your baby somewhere and know they aren't going to fall over! She also loves that she can sit on the floor and play with Landon and her cousins now. She loves those kids so much! I'm soaking in that she isn't fully mobile, but it won't be long before she's crawling. She's already trying to inchworm or army crawl to get what she wants on the floor, and she rolls like a champ. Always on the go!

She's learned to clap and is still babbling up a storm and making all kinds of funny noises. She loves baths and riding in her stroller, and any toy of Landon's. It is not uncommon to find her with one of his little trucks in her hand. She also loves plastic measuring spoons, strange toy I know, but ours have rubber handles and she loves chewing on them! That is definitely something that's different with second baby versus first. With Landon, we had all these baby toys laying around, and with our second she plays with brother's toys and kitchen measuring spoons! Whatever works!

She loves the pool and never fusses when we take her in with us. She splashes and watches Landon play and seems very content. Hopefully we can have another baby that loves the water!


The best part of this month is that we got the news thats she will only have to wear her helmet another week. July 1st we are set to go in, have our final scans, and hopefully never have to put that thing on her noggin again! It really hasn't been awful, but I cannot wait until we can go to the pool and not have to watch the clock to make sure she hasn't had it off too long, or worry about her being hot when its one hundred degrees outside. Life will certainly be a little easier without her helmet. And I can't wait to put bows on her head again! I bought all these bows when I was pregnant and they've been sitting in her dresser- time to pull them out again! I plan on writing a post on our experience with her helmet at some point.


Over all, our girl is happy and content and silly, but she lets you know when she's not happy. She is chatty and noisy and loves people. She lights up when someone talks to her and always has a smile on her face. She's busy- and is always moving and on the go and I'm sure it won't be long before she is crawling. She's a mama's girl, which I love, but lights up when daddy and Landon and Josie are around. We love her abundantly, and are so thankful she's part of our family!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Avery | Six Months

I know each month's post starts with the same ol "I can't believe you are __ months old, each month is flying by" sentiments. But seriously. She's six months old this time. Six months is so very different and so much more emotional for me than any previous month. We are officially on the downhill to her first birthday and I find myself just hanging on for dear life wanting it all to slow down just a little bit so I can soak her in even more at this age.


This past month as been pretty eventful for her. We've had a lot of milestones and a lot of changes, and she has handled them all like a champ. She's resilient and easy and doesn't seem to mind when something isn't the same as it was yesterday. We've settled into a pretty predictable schedule and she's simply just a happy, chunky, sweet little girl.


At six months old she weighs 15 pounds 13 ounces and is 26 1/4 inches long. She is wearing six month clothes and is in size two diapers. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and looks nothing like her mama.

In the past month, we've really fallen into a schedule and she seems so content, rarely cries, and is sleeping really well now (hallelujah!!). She's eating every three hours still and is solely on bottles. She is taking 5-6 ounces each time. I started solids with her a little over a week ago and we haven't made much progress with them. I've tried oatmeal and avocado and she just can't figure out what to do with them! She holds it in her mouth and eventually it falls out. Hopefully she'll catch on soon! I've read a lot about the baby led weaning method also and wonder if that might be a good fit to let her self feed and explore food on her own versus me feeding her pureed foods. Maybe we'll give it a try?

A typical day in the life of Avery looks something like this:

7-7:30, wake up and eat
9-10:30ish AM nap
10:30-11 eat
1:30-2 eat and down for PM nap
2-4:30 PM nap
4:30 eat
7:30-8 eat
8:00 bath
8:30 bedtime

After five long months of awful sleep and inconsistent naps, I ordered the Moms on Call book series, and we quickly got on track and Avery has been sleeping through the night for the past few weeks. I knew most of what they recommended, but it was good to re-read and also learn their other tips! We stopped holding Avery to get her to go to sleep and instead laid her down in her crib,  and would comfort her without picking her back up. After a couple nights, she caught on and is able to put herself to sleep without issue. We use a sound machine, pacifier and she has a seahorse that plays music which she loves (not a Moms on Call recommendation, but it works for us). Those first nights I let her fuss, but never let her truly cry it out. I always went in before she got too upset and helped her settle back down. I can't just close the door and listen to my baby cry!


At the end of April she was fitted for her helmet and has been wearing it for 23 hours a day since then. It is estimated that she will need it for 3-6 months. We are praying its closer to three months. Call me crazy- but I already see a change in her head shape and its a little more rounded at the back than it previously was. She seems unfazed by her helmet. Her sleep hasn't been affected and she doesn't cry when we take it on or off. I think it is more of an adjustment for us parents because it requires cleaning and skin checks and I am more mindful of keeping her cool now that the weather has started warming up. She's a hot natured baby, so the summer months should be interesting for us!

Milestone wise- She can roll from back to tummy and also tummy to back. I frequently find her on her stomach in the morning when I go to get her out of the crib. She seems to sleep on her side most of the time. She is babbling up a storm and making all kinds of letter sounds and loves to hear her voice. She isn't afraid of being noisy! I'm sure once she really learns to talk she'll never stop!


She loves Landon and he gets the best laughs out of her. She lights up when she sees him! He loves her too and is always asking where she is or what she's doing. He loves to sit next to her and snuggle her in bed. Avery also loves baths, which I'm praying will mean she will love the pool! She loves cruising in her stroller. She loves her seahorse, octopus toy, bunny, and of all things- she really loves the blue plastic cup that we use in the tub to rinse her off! Something about that cup makes her so happy!

This month we made our first trip as a family of four to Greenville, NC for our annual baseball weekend with my side of the family. She traveled really well- but let me tell ya, I forgot how involved it can be traveling with a baby! I pack light- but our car was still full. Going to the beach for a week this summer should be interesting!

We love our girl- we love the smiles and giggles she gives and the joy she brings to our family.

Happy Six Months, Sweet Avery Kate!







Blogger Template designed By The Sunday Studio.