Bradley’s STARband success story
by mom Mallory Williams
The fall of 2017 will remain in my heart forever! After struggling for years to become parents, we were finally able to adopt our sons through foster care and found out we were pregnant through IVF. We were so grateful for our forming family when we found out I was expecting, not only one baby but THREE! Triplets, how exciting? My pregnancy was smooth, aside from the discomfort of carrying three babies. We made it to our scheduled c-section and welcomed our beautiful daughters Avery, Emery, and Bradley!
People noticed Bradley’s flat head pretty early on. As her mama, I was very sensitive about it. I would brush it off but, at our first evaluation with Early Intervention, they diagnosed Bradley with torticollis. They educated me about what it was and how we can treat it. We started physical therapy, and my goal quickly became to avoid getting a helmet. I hated everything about helmets. I know what I thought when I looked at babies in helmets, and I couldn’t stand the thought of what people would think of mine. It was difficult doing the physical therapy exercises, but we powered through. We saw some improvement. She was three months old when we had an appointment with The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s plastic surgery department. We met with Regina Fenton, CRNP. She was real with me and said that Bradley’s head was severe and she expected us to qualify for a helmet. Since Bradley was too little, she asked us to come back when she turned six months old. She suggested bringing my other daughters in as well to get a quick measurement. It’s common in multiples to need helmets. Since the babies don’t have extra room when they are developing in utero!
We continued with PT and all our exercises. During our six month appointment with the plastic surgeon, Bradley and Avery were referred to Union Orthotics and Prosthetics Co. I was stressed out thinking about having TWO babies in helmets. Our insurance would not cover the helmet, so we had to apply for extra funding. The process took a few weeks, and we scheduled our evaluation at Union. We met with Sarah W. Katchpole, CO, MSPO our first visit. Avery and Bradley had to get funky hats on their head so they could take accurate measurements. Thankfully Avery scored a 4 and did not qualify for a helmet. Bradley scored a 10.1, so we placed an order for her helmet. Then we waited for it to come in!
December 15th, 2018, was day one. My husband and I took Bradley to pick up her helmet. We decided on a clear one because we heard it was the easiest to clean. It was harder to decorate, but with five kids, whatever was easier! I contacted Babbleworthy and Avery’s Bows to help me make her helmet fun. It was affordable and easy for this crazy momma to do! The first few days were difficult. Bradley had a mild teething fever, and of course, we were going on a trip to an indoor water park as an early Christmas present from my in-laws. It didn’t take long for her to adjust to the new helmet. Soon it became second nature to us. It was hard for me not to be able to kiss her head, and I enjoyed taking it off after dinner. The nightly baths were nice one-on-one time for us. We bought a spray bottle and filled it with rubbing alcohol. We would spray it down then wipe clean. Even with all the decals, it stayed pretty clean. I enjoyed going for check in’s for Bradley’s helmet. I loved seeing the process!
At two months, I was getting a little fed up with it. Bradley was getting bigger, and the helmet was starting to annoy her. We met with Tori Andrews, Certified Prosthetist Orthotist, for one of our last check-ins. She was pretty impressed with her improvement and informed me that we could choose to graduate. As wonderful as that sounded, I wanted to complete! We agreed to give it two more weeks and discharge. The last two weeks felt like it took forever, but we made it. Bradley’s final scan measured her at 2.0. I was in shock! We are very proud of Brad and excited to move forward! We are very thankful for the support from Union Orthotics and Prosthetics Co. in Canonsburg as well as The Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh! I felt like an eternity while we were going through it, but now that it’s over, I realize it was only a short period of our lives.