Four weeks into the little life of my precious firstborn Julia, we had a scare.
Julia had woken for a 4 AM night feed and as I settled on the rocking chair to nurse her, the light hit her neck at just the right angle to reveal a lump the size of a large green grape.
The electric bolt of panic shot through my body and left my head on fire and ready to explode.
To me “lump” equated to “cancer” and I scrambled to find the number of her pediatrician.
(We thankfully had access to a pediatrician for Julia because she was born with a small hole in her heart which qualified her to be seen regularly by a pediatrician. Where we live in Canada, children do not get to be seen by pediatricians unless they are specifically referred for a serious medical condition. Don’t get me started on that… I could rant for a year about that injustice.)
I called the office and had the doctor paged.
The next ten minutes, while I waited for his call, had me tightly gripped in panic as I envisioned the unspeakable.
But he called and with the calm brought by twenty years of treating children asked a few simple questions.
“Where was the lump located?” — In the muscle on the side of her neck.
“Does she tilt her head?” — We weren’t really sure since she couldn’t yet even hold her own head up… but yeah, maybe she did tilt.
“Can she turn her head completely to both sides?” — Oh… now that you mention it, maybe she doesn’t turn it to the left.
The doctor had no doubt. It was torticollis and we weren’t to worry, but bring her in to see him in the morning to confirm.
And sure enough, that doctor knew his stuff. Julia did have torticollis and a rather severe case of it that took almost two years of physiotherapy to solve.
But thankful we were that the lump was not life threatening, but a hematoma that would heal.
Now our little two-year old Julia runs around as straight as an arrow.
We thought neck stretches and alignment exercises were behind us. But again Janice and my ‘twin-ness’ has struck. At Olivia’s two month checkup, she was diagnosed with torticollis!
She has no mysterious and scary lump, but she holds her head in a tilt and can’t turn her head to the right.
And yes… you guessed it… Sophia didn’t want to miss out on the fun of physio so she has also decided to tilt.
We had a twin physio session the other day with the amazing lady who helped straighten out Julia.
It turns out they both have torticollis, but Sophia’s is still quite mild. Olivia on the other hand does have a moderate case that will require a strict regiment of stretches and exercises.
We’re just so thankful that we knew exactly what pediatric physio to contact this time. Our previous experience with Julia was extremely frustrating as we wasted months with an inept physio before we finally got quality help.
So now our little babies will be seeing the physio and working out their kinks together.
In case you’re like we were, and have no idea what torticollis is… here’s an explanation:
Torticollis (also called congenital muscular torticollis) is a condition that causes a baby’s head and neck to tilt to one side. It affects about 2 percent of newborns. The cause is unknown, but doctors suspect that when a baby is positioned in the uterus so that her head is tilted to the side and her neck is down, the blood supply to the neck is cut off. This results in some tightness in one of the two strap (or sternocleidomastoid) muscles that connect the breastbone, head, and neck, and allow a baby to turn her neck. –www.BabyCenter.com