As we embark on Benjamin’s one year anniversary post surgery, I find myself ready and happy to share our cranio success story. My name is Sara Webster and I am the mother of Benjamin who was diagnosed with sagittal craniosynostosis at eight weeks of age.
Born a healthy 8lbs, 11oz, Benjamin was an extremely happy and content little boy. He lit up the lives of our entire family, especially his big sister Carly. My husband and I knew very shortly after his birth that something was different with the shape and size of his head. After a number of inquiries and with some persistence, we were referred to a pediatrician who immediately diagnosed Benjamin with sagittal craniosynostosis. I was devastated, scared and even experienced emotions of denial with this diagnosis. However, upon our referral to Neurosurgery at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, the diagnosis was confirmed and surgery was booked two months later. Benjamin was only four months old and was about to undergo extensive cranial vault reconstruction. I had never felt so terrified or helpless in all of my life.
When January 21st, 2013 arrived, the emotions of waiting and the reality of our surgery day are indescribable. Driving to the hospital, waiting, prepping, and handing my infant over to a stranger to take into an operating room for skull surgery, was the hardest thing my husband and I have ever had to do. I never thought as a mother, I would have to place every ounce of my trust into the hands of someone else and then walk away. All we could do was comfort each other through hopes and prayers that the procedure would be smooth and flawless.
Surgery took 4 hours (felt like an eternity), but I checked in to see how things were going to ease my mind and I received an excellent report. Soon we were in recovery where reality hit again and I was overwhelmed with a bizarre combination of relief and utter sadness. He looked different and his large incision was scary. Luckily he was able to feed from a bottle and it felt good to provide him with some comfort and nurturing. After spending time in the ICU and a short stint on the medical-surgical ward we were discharged home seven days later.
The recovery process was difficult, more challenging than I anticipated as the effects of surgery rippled through the family. We are very blessed to have a tight knit family and group of friends who were by our sides throughout our entire journey, helping and supporting us every step of the way.
Six months after his surgery, Ben was discharged from the neurosurgery service with pristine results. A weight had been lifted. Benjamin is now 16 months old and is the most loving, happy and active little boy around. You would never know that he underwent extensive cranial vault reconstruction, aside from his scar. I love his scar, I see it as a beautiful stamp of how strong and courageous my little man is. I can say with the most certainty that Benjamin is, and forever will be, my hero.
One Week Pre-Op
10 Days Post-Op
Benjamin One Year Later!