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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Great Helmet Debate...

I was advised by Dr. Awesome on Monday that we should probably start looking into purchasing a helmet for Niki.

(Insert Stress Here), folks!

John and I have been going back and forth about this issue for a long time now. "The Great Helmet Debate" is something that we've been toiling over since Niki was born. There are different philosophies about helmets in the "hemophilia community". Some HTCs are adamantly against them, others allow the parents to make the decision, while some strongly recommend helmet usage. Even when we attended HFNC's Family Information Day, we noticed that some kids wore helmets, while others didn't. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Personally, I'm torn.

To be honest, John & I would prefer that she didn't wear one. The woman that we met with FVII didn't agree with the idea of a helmet either. Why does this have to be so hard people?! I didn't have to think twice about the simpler safety measures. Knee pads for crawling, thick padding for seating and bedding, a safety net (I decorated it with butterflies) over the playpen, but a helmet? A helmet is totally different.

Niki at 3 months old. Comfortably breaking all the Boppy rules.

John and I both agree that we want Niki to have a "normal childhood". And if something can't be normal, we try our best to make it as close to "normal" as possible. (See butterflies above.) Helmet hair 24/7 isn't exactly what I envisioned for my queen. I'm sorry, I'm just being honest. Aside from the that, seeing an infant wearing a helmet isn't exactly normal to the rest of the world.

People will stare.

I'm not going to sugar coat it--the helmets I've seen so far haven't been pretty. Even if I were to jazz it up with my glue gun and some bling, it still wouldn't be cute. And, from what I learned today, a soft-shell helmet wouldn't be covered by my insurance because it's not *technically* medically necessary. I work in health care so my coverage is fantastic! Money is not the issue. I'm even willing to pay out of pocket. Frankly, it's the social stuff that bothers us. At the same time, I'd never be able to forgive myself if she had a serious head bleed that could have been prevented. Mobility is swiftly approaching so we need to make a decision soon.

But damn it....I just don't know what to do!

If I were a stay-at-home mom there would be no debate. Niki would NOT wear a helmet because I would be able to watch her like a hawk. Alas, this is not the case. John and I work full time so the helmet gives her added...coverage. Even though she is in good hands with her current childcare arrangement (home-based daycare with my MIL), she is not 100% immune to the possibility of getting hurt. My MIL takes care of other children too. She cannot constantly hover over Niki as she learns to crawl, walk, and run! My baby is going to get hurt whether I want her to or not. Don't get me wrong though, this was a fear I had with the boys too, I absolutely hated the idea of bumps and bruises. Every parent worries about their baby getting hurt as they learn to be more mobile.

My fear is simply heightened by Niki's condition. (And of course, losing Ethan.)

So, what to do...what to do? Do we strive for a normal childhood and risk it? Or do accept that the helmet may be normal for her and go with it?

Guess we'll have to wait and see...

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