Today, although I am caught in my constant thoughts about too many things, I am relaxing with the relief of a visit to the pediatric neurosurgeon after two weeks of intense concern over the well-being of my precious little perfect.
My son has a big head. I noticed in-utero when his face took up the whole frame of the ultrasound photo. Of course, it was laughed off as the crazy concerns of a very hormonal pregnant woman. I was assured that although my child’s head was measuring a bit on the bigger side, there was no need for concern. No one knew but, I kept looking back at that photo and kept concern within an arm’s reach.
Although my Perfect’s birth was quite easy in comparison to the screaming woman and man down the hall or the hours of labor and countless hours of pushing of many whose story I’ve heard, his head looked rather funny after being squeezed together to come down the birth canal. He had an indentation in the middle of his forehead as if his skull had sort of folded to make it out. With a dent in his head that probably only my eyes noticed, my son was beautiful and absolutely perfect…big head and all. However, with concern still at an arm’s reach, I watched as, over the days, his dent faded.
My Perfect Precious was a big boy and although babies’ heads are always disproportionate with regards to the size of their bodies, I began to find concern again when the doctor started remeasuring the head circumference at his well baby checks. The nurse would take all vitals…weight…length…head circumference. Then the doctor would come in and take head circumference. So, I asked what any attentive parent would ask…”why are you re-measuring his head?” I was told that the measurement was a bit on the big side so he was just double checking to make sure that the nurse got it right. This satisfied me the first time. But, after another 1 or 2 visits with the head always being measured twice, I pushed further. I wanted to know that there was nothing making my Precious’ head grow larger than whatever other percentage of the population of babies his age, height, and weight.
Luckily, my doctor listens to my concerns and ordered an ultrasound of his head. The ultrasound came back with nothing. There were no indications of abnormality. Nothing to raise any red flags. Nothing to warrant pushing any further.
That was about eight months ago. Well, two weeks ago at the baby’s 18mth well-baby check, his head measured “off of the charts”. His head measured larger than approximately every baby his age, height and weight. Concern came to visit again…only this time it paid a visit to the doctor and to dad. So, the Perfect was referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon who ordered a CT scan of his head.
In my world…a concerned mother is not to be reckoned with. The CT scan was scheduled on Tuesday…the results were read on Wednesday. His doctor informed us that the radiologist had questioned whether the ventricles in his brain were larger than normal. This would be a sign of pressure in the brain as a result of too much fluid. The condition is known as hydrocephaly and although not fatal (if addressed), a shunt would most likely have to be inserted to drain fluid from the brain. Once a shunt is put in place, he would have to have it for the rest of his life. Although shunts are common, they do carry a certain amount of risks…malfunctions…too much fluid drained…not enough fluid drain…There is a delicate balance.
All of this and I was supposed to wait until the doctor’s office called to make an appointment. Once again, a concerned mom is not to be reckoned with. I don’t wait. Not even on a good day do I find it easy to wait. So, I didn’t wait. I picked up the phone and called the doctor’s office and after a day of messages…repeat calls….busy lines…one receptionist…then another…then the physician’s assistant…A doctor’s appointment was set for the next day. And that is a good thing…because in this 24 hour period from results to waiting, the Perfect had already been diagnosed by google and YouTube and panic and stress.
At this point of concern, I had no room for emotional distress. But, what I did have room for was an understanding that despite any imperfections, my son is perfect. He is a perfect little charm when he showers me with kisses and then pushing me away as if to say, “ok…that is enough for now.” He is perfect when he mimics my moves putting his hand on his back because he can’t find his hips or crossing his legs and leaning on his outstretched arm as if he is just “chilling” and waiting for me to finish whatever it is I am doing. He is perfect when he fusses with correct tone and emphasis on syllables of words that only he understands. He is perfect when we yells at me in sign language. He is perfect in every way. This was decided at conception…Not that I was stuck in the disillusion of no risks of pregnancy after age 35…only that regardless of anything…he would be perfectly mine…perfectly himself – whatever that meant.
So, with the knowledge that my beautiful boy was perfect…we headed to the neurosurgeon on Friday anxious to know the next steps. Relaxed in the knowing that the unknown was insignificant, we waited to meet with the doctor. After exam and review of medical history…growth chart…CT scan…we found out that we had a Perfect Big Head Baby.
I don’t know what the radiologist was thinking or if it was one that specialized in pediatric brains or one with little experience in the area. We were assured that based on numerous markers, my Precious Perfect had a perfectly normal brain with no concern for hydrocephaly or anything else at this time. There are no further steps. No follow-ups necessary. And although I was assured that there was no need for further concern, we all know that concern is only a breath away.
And now I can relax knowing that I pushed and will push again and again and again for as long as is necessary to get answers.
But, right now I can breathe….at least for the moment.
- Diagnostic Brain Imaging 101: FMRI, CT, PET and EEG (braininjuryresourcecenter.wordpress.com)