Pieced back together
My brave boy’s had three ops on his head
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!