I looked up the seven stages of grief because I am sure I have experienced all of them over the past week. Sure enough, it was clear that I went through disbelief, denial and bargaining right in the doctor's office when Oliver's pediatrician said, "It looks like Oliver has craniosynostosis, we should order a CT scan." What?! His head is like that because he was a preemie! I don't think we need to do anything. I'm sure he will grow out of it, he just needs more time.
Next, after Oliver had a nervous breakdown when he saw the CT scanner, dodging technicians as he ran the halls of San Luis Diagnostics, I felt depression and anger set in.
Then, because I had the whole weekend to do research, I oscillated between guilt, depression and anger. How did I not notice this when Oli was a baby!? Why did his pediatrician think he was fine, too? What will we do if our baby needs surgery?
One support group and two specialists later, we have some preliminary answers. Oliver does most likely have craniosynostosis. He does not need a CT scan (I'm so happy he ran from that room) and according to the top craniofacial doctor in Dallas, he probably will need treatment to relieve the pressure on his brain (separation and removal of a fused suture in his skull: a craniectomy).
So, how have we been coping? The only way I know how: nature therapy! We have spent the week splashing in big puddles, going on hikes, and boating and fishing for leaves in the "river" near the road.
Oliver, the paleontologist, acting like a T-Rex.
Pearl worked up an appetite from all of her strenuous sleep hiking.
Oliver's pirate ship trailing my party boat.
This leaf fish tasted delicious with a little lemon and olive oil.
Finally, yesterday, as Pearl and I watched the boys bake a pumpkin pie,
I felt some acceptance start to creep in. Stage seven arrived with a wave of peace and relief. I have so much to be thankful for this year. Pearl was born easily, on time and has been the picture of good health. And I'm thankful for Oliver for putting a smile on the face of nearly every person he meets. Each challenge he has presented to our lives has made us better parents and more thoughtful people.
Either way this thing goes, I know Oliver will be fine. He's got the personality to pull of a slightly different head shape and gumption to make it through a difficult surgery. After all, how many four-year-olds can dress a baby AND bring sexy back? See for yourself!