This post is a couple of days late as things have taken an unexpected turn recently. Up until Friday last week things were going well and we had a nice flow that made me generally think it was all going to be ok.
Then we visited our paediatrician and as she was doing her usual checks she asked me if baby N favours one side of his head for sleeping. To be honest I hadn’t noticed as usually I’m just so delighted he’s asleep!! The doctor had noticed that my baby has developed a flat head on one side of his skull, no doubt caused by favouring that side for sleeping.
The doctor has a way of making serious things not sound so bad and thus I didn’t think that much of if. She told me to call someone who is a specialist paediatric physiotherapist and sent me on my way.
I managed not to panic or do any Googling until Sunday, but when I did the freak out mode kicked in. Although flat head syndrome is fairly common, it can be bad for developmental health if not resolved. And it looks awful too.
On Monday we met with the baby physio who diagnosed torticollis, which is essentially a weak neck. This means that one side of baby N’s neck is stronger than the other, hence he holds his head a bit wonky and he prefers to sleep on one side of his head.
I was so upset by this diagnosis and felt once again like a total failure. It wasn’t until I did some further deep googling later that I realised in most cases torticollis is caused in the womb with baby lying in a funny position. I then went and scanned through all of my photos where it became clear that he’s been favouring one side since birth and I never noticed it. Although this makes no difference to the situation as it stands it made me feel less guilty as, up until then, I thought his problems were caused by me not holding him enough.
The physio lady seemed optimistic that with regular therapy and exercises at home that we should see a difference in a month’s time. She also instructed me to get a special pillow for him that helps to lesson the pressure of gravity on his skull.
I’m glad at least that we have caught it early and can do something. In very bad cases the babies need to wear a helmet 23 hours a day for two years. We desperately want to avoid that!!!
One of the instructions I have been given though is that the only time baby N should be lying down is when he is sleeping. At all other times he must be held or carried. This freaked me out so badly! It means no bouncer/relaxing chair (so no more Mamaroo), no leaving him to play on his activity mat and no letting him lie on the bed for a few minutes while I do my hair. I can put him in the baby carrier and wear him but he gets a bit unhappy in there after a while because it’s so hot.
And all of this for several MONTHS until his neck muscles strengthen. I’ve no idea how I will get anything done!
It is no exaggeration to say that the enormity of what I face hit me like a tonne of bricks and sent me spiralling back down the path of baby blues. The past two days I have cried and cried.
The baby – in my arms all day – must have picked up on my mood yesterday as he slept maybe a total of 1 hour during daylight hours. He was cranky most of the day which meant I couldn’t even sit down with him in my arms!! It was exhausting! He finally crashed out last night at 10.30pm by which time I was completely over motherhood and wondering if I could give him to another mother who would do a better job. If he’d been a puppy I would have taken him back.
Today I am better but I am so tired from it all. Anyway, here’s the weekly stats.
Age: 7 weeks + 2 days
Weight: He was 5kg last Friday which is average but he is now 59cm long which is in the 85th percentile. Tall boy!
Feeding: Still combination feeding but edging closer each day to exclusive formula feeding.
Sleeping routine: I still dream of a routine but we are trying to implement one so that he eventually catches on. On a good day I can have him in bed and asleep by 9pm with 2 feeds in the night after that. On a bad day he’s still awake at 11pm, I’ve not had dinner and we are all super-cranky.
Firsts: Baby N decided last Tuesday to give us his first brilliant smile and has been grinning ever since, especially at his daddy! It is so cute! I joked to my husband that it’s a miracle he learned how to smile as all I do is cry. He also had his first play date last Thursday with 15 week old twin girls. It was fun to hang out with another Mum and see what an awesome job she is going with twins. I remain utterly delighted that I only transferred one embryo as twins are a whole different level of hard!
Hair: The poor guy is still losing his hair and it looks a bit weird. I can see the new stuff growing through so hopefully soon we will get to see more of a head covering.
Eyes: Big and blue!
Mummy update: Operation MILF has started with a bit of a whimper due to the above issues, however I did go to my first yoga class in months today and it was great to feel semi-normal. I did fit into my old yoga pants so praise be to stretchy material!
I’ve been mentally so drained the past couple of days and even the basics are feeling like a struggle again. I keep repeating my mantra that “This is a phase and it will pass” but the reality is I’m not taking to motherhood naturally, I’m not enjoying it much and I miss my old life. I’m not sure if you’re meant to admit any of those things, especially with a much-longed for IVF baby but that’s the way I feel at the moment. I look forward to eating my words in the future!