Thursday, January 26, 2012

Orthotics Lessons

We went to see the Orthotist today for Carter's Plagiocephaly. I just have to say that I am a nerd, and I found the entire thing utterly fascinating!! :) I'm also extremely thankful for the clinic we chose to go to. The people are wonderful and the CPO (Certified Prosthetist Orthotist) was amazing. She was fun, very personable, very knowledgeable, and explained herself clearly. She was wonderful in her interactions with Carter, and that's always important to a mama!

She explained that when an area of the skull is malformed (the flat side of the back of his head) then the brain has to find another area to grow. This is what is causing the beginnings of a bulge on his forehead-his brain doesn't have any room in the back so it's growing where it has room. The wonderful thing about the way God created babies? His brain does have room to grow!!!! Even if it's making his skull misshapen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with his brain!!! (We already knew this, but I was just struck by God's awesomeness of creation as she explained how the skull and brain work at this point in development). The helmet is considered a passive intervention. It is not actually pushing on his head. It will basically only allow his skull to grow in certain directions. So, the area that is flat right now won't actually be touching the inside of the helmet. The helmet will put pressure in other areas so that as his brain grows the flatter areas will have to grow. This is the reason why this intervention only works before 18 months of age--their skull plates have to still be unfused (if that's a word) so that everything can easily move without creating any issues for brain development. Carter is still in a perfect timeframe for intervention.

She took several measurements of Carter's head. Two of the measurements she said that if he had a perfectly round head there would be a 0 mm difference. Carter has a 17 mm difference between these two measurements. Then she told us about a ratio on a different set of measurements. The ratio should be 80%. Carter's was at 93%. (I know I'm not being very technical. I'd have to actually show you on his head where these measurements are, but I think you still get an idea). She classified Carter's Plagiocephaly as severe. She said that if we did nothing that over the next 10 months some change would naturally occur. The flat part of his head would round out some, but that it will not naturally completely correct itself because of the level of severity. She did affirm that it is still a decision up to us. It won't hurt anything to not put a helmet on him. His brain will still grow and develop just fine continuing to make room for itself as it needs to. She commented that if we did nothing the Plagiocephaly could impact how a hat fits in the future as well as glasses if he should need those. She said that women can more easily disguise this issue because of long hair, but that men usually have shorter hair and can go bald so his head shape can potentially be easily noticeable throughout his life. Anyway, all that to say that we in no way have to correct the problem, but it could still impact things in his future. All of this confirmed our decision to go forward with a helmet.

She took some really cool 3D images of Carter's head to send off to the company that makes the helmets. We go in a week to have it fitted and bring it home. We will spend a week breaking it in and working him up to 23 hours a day. She compared this to wearing a new pair of shoes. If he immediately went to 23 hours a day, he could get pressure sores on his head. They will send us with specific instructions for this next week.

We felt very good about today's appointment. We loved her, and feel very comfortable and confident in working with her and her clinic for the next 3-4 months. We are thankful for the Lord's guidance in this process and thankful for an easy going baby that thought today's appointment was just another fun thing in his life. :) We are praying for a smooth transition into the helmet and that he won't even know it's there!

I'll update again next week with how his first fitting went and post pictures as well! I'm sure he will still be the most adorable little boy that exists!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plagiocephaly... a big word for flat head. Carter saw a neurosurgeon today for a consultation regarding the flattened right side of his head. Many people have told us they have not noticed his head is misshapen. It is very hard to see from the front. From the back and right side you can tell that he has a significant portion of his head that is flatter than the rest. When looking from the top down you can see that his ears are significantly off center. If you look very closely you can notice that the right side of his forehead slightly protrudes farther forward from the left.

The doctor did let us know it's simply a cosmetic concern, not a medical concern. He did say that the "deformity" was significant enough for him to recommend intervening. He said we could wait and it might correct itself over time, but eventually Carter will reach a point when it will be un-fixable. Right now the plates on his head are still far enough apart to allow a helmet to quickly, easily, and painlessly correct the problem. Once the plates fuse it will not be repairable. Taylor and I decided that because it is a noticeable issue we felt it is important to go ahead and intervene even though it is simply a cosmetic concern.

The neurosurgeon wrote us a referral for an orthotics clinic that will do the measurements, ordering, and fitting of his helmet. We go on Thursday at 1:45 for his initial cranial measurements. This same clinic will do all of his fittings and adjustments. We will go back to the neurosurgeon in 3 months for a follow up. He predicted that it should be corrected by then. It is a little difficult to exactly pinpoint the timeline because a lot of it is based on Carter's growth.

So, that is our update on our sweet little boy and his head. I will continue to update as this journey continues! Now, it's time for me to get online and order him some precious decals for his new helmet!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I don't like making resolutions. There is a part of my personality that can easily feel guilty if I do not accomplish my goals. It's a flaw that I have to work through. But, I do like the fresh start feeling of a new year. There are several things that I have been reflecting on recently that I have started to change and want to continue as we head into the New Year.

1) I've been a part of Bible Study Fellowship this year. We are studying the book of Acts. It has been incredibly challenging to my spiritual life-in a good way. I have been especially challenged in my prayer life. I want to continue to be convicted and challenged in making prayer a TOP priority in my day, all day as I go about regular life. I want prayer to be the first thing I turn to with every emotion that arises. Before I talk to anyone else, ask opinions or advice, I want to pray. Why is this so hard?

2) Having a large house with many kids has challenged this organized-clean freak. I've been learning lessons in letting things go in order to invest more time into the kids, but I also want to live in a clean, organized environment. I feel calmer and more at home when the house is that way. The problem is that when I look at a plan to re-organize or clean I get overwhelmed with everything needing to be done right away (or at least that's what I think). I found this website on Pinterest:
I've signed up for the weekly organization projects. I'm thrilled to feel like I'm going to make progress in making our home most functional, but LOVE that I will be doing it little by little without taking too much time from family time.

3) I need a creative outlet. Pinterest has helped me find new things and fun projects to help with this. I would like to find 2 or 3 projects a month to give me a creative outlet. It will depend on cost and time commitment, but we'll see what happens.

4) I have a friend that is also a new houseparent at a children's home in Texas. She mentioned in a blog post about journaling with some of her girls. I thought-what a great idea! I would like to start co-journaling with my girls. I'm interested to see if this will open some dialogue that either a) they wouldn't just talk about face to face or b) it's hard to find time to talk about when there are a million other things going on in our house. I'm hoping to start this immediately. I'm prayerful and hopeful for the results.

5) I am wanting to find new ways to encourage and uplift my husband. Entering parenthood and becoming houseparents at the same time has challenged our marriage in new ways. We have had countless conversations since coming here about how to improve communication. Last week we had a conversation about how our love languages have changed since becoming parents. When we got married Taylor and I both committed to each other to continue studying the other person so that we could best know how to love the other. I want to make a renewed effort to make this a priority and not let the busyness of parenthood drown out our marriage.

6) I don't want to be a frumpy mom. I don't need to dress up every day, but I want to at least feel cute. I want to commit to dress in something other than sweats most days of the week. When I take the time to do this, I remember that I am a woman and wife, not just a busy mom. I definitely don't want to be caught up in vanity and materialism, but I want to embrace the way God has made me at this point in my life. I want to take care of and flatter the body I have now as a mom. I want to have energy to be an active mom that enjoys being a part of this busy part of life called parenthood.

I could probably go on and on, but these are the things that have been most in my thoughts the last few days and weeks. Most importantly in 2012, I want God to be at the center of every day-every thought, every action, every emotion, etc.

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Christmas and 7 months old

We had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with Carter for the first time. Christmas weekend was also spent with 3 of our foster kids. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my parents house during the day. The day after Christmas our kids went on relief, and it was time to do Christmas with my family. Carter actually got really excited about pulling paper off of packages. I really didn't think he would have any interest this year, but he enjoyed the wrapping paper. Carter got some really fun stuff for Christmas this year-both toys and practical things that he needed. He's had fun playing with his new toys a little at a time. Taylor and I discovered that we were more excited about opening Carter's presents and playing with his new toys with him than we were our own presents. :)

A few days after Christmas our sweet boy reached 7 months old. Where has the time gone? He's really growing up so fast! Here's some stats and new info:
-Weight - approximately 16 lbs (I weighed him on my parent's scale while holding him so it's not accurate)
-Nursing 5 times a day
-Eating solid foods 3 times a day
-His food list is increasing: he has added green beans, carrots, broccoli, yogurt, and oatmeal since my last update. He has not refused any foods yet, though he does not like his yogurt cold. He prefers it at room temperature.
-He's been able to roll over both directions for a few months now but has just recently started rolling to get somewhere. When on his tummy he pushes up all the way on his arms. It won't be long until he figures out he can pull his knees up.

And, of course, pictures:

I made salted dough ornaments for Carter's grandparents and great-grandparents. It was also his first Christmas ornament for our tree.

Christmas morning at church

Opening his first present

Daddy and Carter got matching cowboy slippers

Second Christmas morning