Our sweet Dakota was born on 9/11/11. He was perfect. Such a good a good baby and just precious. At his 2 month visit my pediatrician noticed that he was starting to get a ridge at the top of his head. She told me about it but said that she would see him again at his 4 month visit, which was 1/12/12, and assess it then. I wasn’t worried at that point since she didn’t seem very concerned. I took Dakota back into the doctor on 12/14/11 for a cough that he had. It was on that day that our “cranio journey” began. My pediatrician informed me that Dakota checked out just fine as far as his cough and congestion but that I needed to contact a craniofacial plastic surgeon ASAP. My heart sunk. I was numb. I must have turned pale white because my sweet pediatrician tried her best to help me feel better. Bless her heart but it didn’t work. I felt like the walls were closing in on me as she explained the “worst case scenario”…… SURGERY. That word lingered in my head and I missed most everything else she said. My baby possibly had to endure SKULL surgery. The tears didn’t start until I called my husband and when I said the words “Dakota may have something wrong with his skull” and he GASPED! I lost it. I told him his reaction didn’t help me and that I was counting on him to be strong!! I was sick. I couldn’t believe this was happening. All any mother wants is a healthy, happy baby! I contacted a craniofacial office the next morning first thing. They told me that they had no openings until Jan 3rd 2012. Obviously that was not going to work so I spoke up and let them know the situation. They squeezed me in that following Tuesday 12/20/11. That even seemed like an eternity away! When that day finally came my husband & I headed to the plastic surgeons office. When I met the plastic surgeon I had a sense of peace come over me. He is the most amazing man! Dr Warnock is his name. He did some measuring and calculating ratios out and then looked at my husband & I and said that the ratios didn’t look good. He told us to head to Primary Children’s Medical Center for a CT Scan. UGH! Felt like I had been punched in the gut. We headed over for the CT scan. I wasn’t looking forward to this part. Seeing my baby strapped down to a table is not my idea of a fun day. I fell apart in the CT scan and had to step out of the room to gain some composure. While I was waiting for my baby and husband to come out of the CT scan, I said a quick prayer asking God to give me the strength to get a grip because there were children in the waiting area that I was probably scaring with my sobs! As soon as I said that prayer a woman carrying a child sat down directly next to me and put her hand on my back. I looked over and met eyes with a sweet little boy that turns out is 4 years old and named Jackson. His mother said to me “Whatever you are going through I know your heartbreak “Jackson was born with a brain malformation and will never walk, talk or live a full life. WOW! I stopped my sobs and realized that was my help from God to get a grip. Made me realize how much worse things could be. That day I witnessed an angel in my life. That woman will never know what she did for me that day. I think of her and Jackson often.
The CT scan result came back within an hour and showed sagittal synostosis. Dr Warnock called and told me that with the holidays they would have to wait a week but that Dakota was scheduled for surgery on 12/27/11. Merry Christmas to me was my first thought! What a selfish thought, right! That week consisted of meeting the neurosurgeon and mentally preparing for the surgery.
The surgery day came as I knew it would. We arrived at the hospital at 9:30 am for an 11 am surgery time. Got Dakota in his fancy hospital clothes and then waited…. and waited… and waited for what felt like forever! Finally at noon the anesthesiologist came to get us. We walked down the hallway with him to the dreaded set of double doors where he turned to us and said “this is a good place for kisses”. I knew what that meant. I had to hand my sweet guy over to him. My husband, my mom & I gave kisses and then the tears started. I handed him off and then turned around and didn’t look back. My heart couldn’t handle it. Now the 2nd set of waiting. The nurse had said that they would call and update as the surgery was going. As she promised, we received positive updates for the next 3 hours. Finally we got the news he was out of surgery and the surgeons told us the surgery was a total success! He did awesome and we were now “on the other side”! The feeling I felt is the true definition of JOY! I couldn’t wait to get back to recovery and love on my handsome little dude! When I saw him it was heartbreaking. He was crying a cry I had NEVER heard. He was raspy and crying out in pain. Nothing a mother should ever have to see. They pulled up a rocking chair and put him in my arms. As soon as I was holding him all his vital signs stabilized! Ahhhhh the love of a mother! I don’t think I put him down for the next week! We stayed 2 painless nights at the hospital with AMAZING nurses and staff to help us. Dakota is now undergoing helmet therapy and doing awesome. I can’t believe one month ago from today I was anticipating the surgery and now it is done and over with. I’m so thankful I discovered the support group for craniosynostosis. I LOVE MY CRANIO FAMILY!