Monday, March 11, 2013


I normally devote this blog to talking about writing - my journey toward publication and the lessons I've learned along the way. But the funny thing about writing is that it spills over into every aspect of my life. It's something I never fully turn off or put down. I once heard the life of a writer described as having homework every night for the rest of your life and that's true, at least for me. So when something major happens in my real life, it affects my writing life because they really are one in the same.

Tilt! Flat spot. Carseat head-righting contraption. 30lbs of rice.

On Friday I took my baby girl in for a physical therapy evaluation for something called torticollis. I don't like to call it a condition because that sounds far more catastrophic than it is. Basically, the muscles on the right side of her neck are tight, which causes her head slump forward and tilt toward her right shoulder. Her case is somewhat unique because it's been present from birth and she has no risk factors. First borns, multiples, babies who have long or difficult deliveries and the use of forcepts are all known risk factors. Heavy use of car seats, swings and bouncers can cause torticollis when babies spend too much time in them. Torticollis can cause flat spots because tort babies favor one side while sleeping, most often on the back of the head. If it gets bad enough, a helmet can be required to allow the flat spots to round out. Most tort babies resist spending time on their bellies, making their condition worse.

But my baby girl hasn't been typical a day in her life.  She is my second, a single birth and I had a ridiculously short labor and delivery with no complications. She hates the carseat and only recently learned to tolerate the swing and bouncer for short times. And finally, she loves being on her belly. She'd never be on her back if she could help it. So when we got the initial paperwork from our pediatrician, I thought we were doing great and might be able to skip physical therapy.

Unfortunately, her love of tummy time has actually made her condition worse. She has flatish spots on the back of the right side if her head and another on the front of the left side, most likely from how she was positioned in the womb. The best way to fix this is to have her sleep on the back of her head. We've waited four and a half months for her to start rolling onto her belly so we can let her sleep like that, only to be told she has to sleep in her back even longer. 

No parent ever wants to hear their child is less than perfect. Torticollis is a minor thing, especially in her case, and usually resolves by the time a child is walking. Compared to what many parents face, it's nothing. But for us, it's the end of intuitive parenting. We have to think about how she sleeps, how she plays, how she's positioned at every moment. There are at home exercises and physical therapy twice a week starting tomorrow. I bought 30lbs of rice and spent last night sewing bags to hold her in place while sleeping. It's not a big deal, but it is life-changing. 

So while I will still be writing my usual attempts at inspiring creativity, I'll probably have some posts about her progress because it makes me feel better to talk about it, to lay my thoughts out in an orderly fashion. Perhaps someone else will find inspiration in this part of my journey too. After all, isn't that why we tell stories? So we feel less alone?


  1. Awww. :( That does sound really stressful and worrisome. She is really beautiful, though. :)

    I was first born + verrrry long delivery (~48 hours. My poor, poor mother.) so I don't know why I didn't have this.

    And...the end of this post. <3 Yes.

  2. She's such an adorable little one. :) I wish you both the smoothest road to recovery (if that's even the word for it) possible.