Pieced back to­gether

My brave boy’s had three ops on his head

Chat - - Rockin' True-life - By Lau­ren Matthews, 25, from Hull

Ino­ticed it as soon as I held my new­born in my arms.

‘His head looks… dif­fer­ent,’ I frowned.

It was Oc­to­ber 2013 and Oliver had been born two weeks over­due. At 7lb 13oz, he was healthy. But there was some­thing about his head that looked odd. His fore­head was protrud­ing.

When my older son Justin, then 5, had been born, his head hadn’t looked like Oliver’s.

‘It’s noth­ing to worry about,’ doc­tors re­as­sured me. Over the next few weeks, though, it just got worse. His fore­head pro­truded so much, it seemed to de­velop a ridge and shad­owed his eyes. I took Oliver back and forth to the GP, but was told each time that it was noth­ing to worry about.

Call it mother’s in­stinct, I just knew some­thing was wrong.

Then when Oliver was 6 months old, he had a dou­ble ear in­fec­tion and was pre­scribed peni­cillin.

But within half an hour, Oliver was cov­ered in a puffy, red rash.

I rushed him straight to A&E at Hull Royal In­fir­mary.

There, I was told he’d had an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to peni­cillin.

But the pae­di­a­tri­cian seemed more con­cerned about Oliver’s head.

So he was trans­ferred to Leeds Gen­eral In­fir­mary for tests. There it was con­firmed… ‘He’s got cran­iosyn­os­to­sis,’ a doc­tor said.

I was told it’s a rare con­di­tion, caus­ing a baby to be born with an ab­nor­mally shaped head. This can cause headaches, learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and eye prob­lems.

And all due to pres­sure build­ing up in the skull. I was heart­bro­ken. ‘My poor baby,’ I cried, dev­as­tated.

Doc­tors ex­plained that Oliver would need ma­jor surgery to re­con­struct his skull.

So in Novem­ber 2014, Oliver had the seven-hour op.

Doc­tors made an in­ci­sion at the top of his head. Then the af­fected ar­eas of his skull were re­moved, re-shaped and rein­serted.

Poor Oliver’s head was smoth­ered in scars and stitches.

He looked like he’d been taken apart and put back to­gether again.

Af­ter a week, he came home. But six months af­ter the op, Oliver didn’t seem him­self.

He kept vom­it­ing dur­ing the night, scream­ing and pulling his hair out.

Scans at the hos­pi­tal came back clear, but Oliver’s symp­toms didn’t let up.

So in Jan­uary 2016, he had an­other op to re­move two sec­tions of his skull.

Then he needed fur­ther re­con­struc­tive surgery a month later.

But just hours af­ter his fi­nal surgery, he was sit­ting watch­ing Twee­nies and munch­ing on Wot­sits.

‘Look Mummy,’ he said, gig­gling away at the TV.

Oliver’s 3 now and faces an­other op in the fu­ture to make his skull rounder.

And we don’t know how the con­di­tion will af­fect his learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment.

What­ever hap­pens, I know my lit­tle man will take it all in his stride.

He’s such a cheeky, happy lit­tle boy.

When­ever I take him to the hos­pi­tal, he wants to shake hands with all the doc­tors.

‘Nice to meet you,’ he beams.

His re­silience amazes me ev­ery day, I couldn’t be more proud.

He’s my mini hero.

His poor head was smoth­ered in scars and stitches

Sol­dier­ing on My Oliver in hos­pi­tal again Af­ter his first op

Big smile for mummy!

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