The DOC Band®, An Experience With Cranial Technologies
After a complicated pregnancy, emergency c-section and 5-day NICU-stay, the last thing I wanted to hear about my newborn baby was that there were further complications from his breech positioning and delivery. But ready or not, he was diagnosed with torticollis and plagiocephaly at his 8 week appointment. As a hormonal, sleep-deprived, postpartum Mom-of-a-toddler-and-newborn (the hardest stage so far IMO), I could hardly handle this disappointing news. I’d never heard of the terms torticollis or plagiocephaly before, and I could not even pronounce them, let alone understand what to really do about them.
And let’s be honest, absolutely no one ever wants to hear that there is a problem with their child, and especially not their innocent, tiny newborn. It is disappointing at best, and defeating at worst. Sadly, I have to admit that under the haze of postpartum and sleep deprivation and stress, I sometimes worried that the doctors and therapists were out to get me, coming up with fancy words just to get my money. But a few months later (when the postpartum fog cleared up a bit), I realized that the specialists were paying close attention to me and my baby, and they were working to help my son be as healthy and happy as possible.
On that note, among the many specialists we visited for my 2-month-old, one of the appointments I was especially anxious about was at Cranial Technologies for treatment of my son’s plagiocephaly. FYI – plagiocephaly is a fancy term for the development of a flat spot on the back or side of the head. And Cranial Technologies is the company located in Central Austin that creates custom-fit medical “helmets” (called a DOC Band®) to therapeutically alleviate the problem of flat spots on the head.
It all sounded scary and I felt sad when I saw the babies with DOC Bands on, assuming it was uncomfortable for them. My naïve instinct was not to assume that the DOC Bands from Cranial Technologies were painless, easy to use and extremely helpful for this condition (as I came to find out). Instead, I initially questioned a lot of the process and dreaded our first appointment there.
Questions that ran through my head: How does the DOC Band work?? Why does my son need this helmet-looking thing? Won’t he grow out of this issue? How long do the head evaluations take? Will it hurt my baby? Won’t the frequent treatments/evaluations mess up my daily routine/schedule? What do I do with my toddler during the evaluations? Can we just be DONE with all of this?!?
First things first, it was a relief for me to see that my son was never hurting or uncomfortable during any of the evaluations at Cranial Technologies, of which we had 3. In order to get clear pictures and accurate measurements of the flat spots on his head, they put a stretchy cap on his head and put him seated (held up) in the middle of a really large robotic-looking camera machine upon arriving at each visit. I think it’s safe to assume most Moms would be anxious about this procedure, but rest assured! My son didn’t mind the cap on his head anymore than any other baby hat I’d put on him. He hardly noticed it and the measurement process took all of 5 minutes.
After taking pictures and measurements, the specialists at Cranial Technologies took their time to analyze his results. After usually waiting patiently for me to breastfeed and/or change diapers, they explained the measurements of my son’s head very carefully. They were articulate and very considerate of my time and my concerns. Most importantly, it was clear they were simply trying to help my son’s plagiocephaly to be treated and resolved. They educated me about his diagnosis and the concerns, the long and short term effects, the possible treatments and the benefits of the DOC Band.
I learned that the DOC Band weighs less than 6 oz and babies are not experiencing any pain while wearing them. Uncomfortable maybe slightly, but no more uncomfortable than being buckled into a hard plastic carseat or wearing a winter coat that isn’t made to be super comfortable either. It was also comforting for me to see other parents with babies in the Cranial Technologies office, who were all calm, likely already overcoming any anxieties or probably just not being such a worry-wart like me.
Don’t forget, my two-year-old was always in tow for all of these visits too, as that is and was the norm for us! But thankfully, she got to play with tons of fun kids toys in the office, and she thought it was fun to watch her baby brother getting a new “hat” on for his measurements to be taken. All that to say, the employees at Cranial Technologies were extremely helpful, understanding and flexible when it came to my situation and they helped to make it as easy as possible for me.
While my son actually didn’t end up getting a DOC Band, I am thankful now to have gone through this process. I learned a ton about the way that Cranial Technologies is providing a valuable product and services to babies like mine, and I totally got over my worries about the numerous specialists. Now, I’m so thankful for high-tech medical options like the DOC Band! I also have a new appreciation for my medical insurance, which was available to cover a large majority of the cost for the DOC Band treatment. On that note, check out these photos below which compare the before and after of one sweet baby who had plagiocephaly. What a big difference the DOC Band can make!
After all of it, I can definitely say that while it was often challenging, the journey of helping my son to get the therapy, evaluations and treatment he needed for his conditions was well worth my time, and not-so-much worth my stress. The doctors and therapists we saw repeatedly offered me their expertise and all I had to do was trust in the fact that we had great medical options to investigate and be thankful for.
Cranial Technologies will be at our upcoming Moms Night Out as one of our premium title sponsors! Stop by their booth to learn more about the DOC Bands that help lots of local Austin Moms and babies.