Little Italian Stallion – A Guest Blog
When I first read the name of this blog, I HAD to smile. If I had a neon sign above the timeline of my life, that’s what it would probably say! The imaginary marquee would fit right into my days as a wife, first time mommy, entrepreneur, budding blogger…and whatever else I required for me and my family at any given moment. Chaos indeed!
Most of us can relate to how a crazy day, week, or month can leave us feeling like a battered Rocky Balboa egging on an equally battered Apollo Creed to give us your best shot!
My family and I felt that way a few months ago dealing with our infant son’s health scare.
Metopic Synostosis (MT) are two of the most awful words my husband and I could have ever heard come out of our pediatrician’s mouth in June 2017. MT is an abnormal head shape caused by the metopic suture closing too early. It forms a noticeable ridge of bone down the center of the forehead, making it look overly narrow or pointed. The baby’s skull tends to look triangular in shape and not rounded.
On the spectrum of severity, MT can range from a pronounced ridge that may not need specific treatment, to a more serious misshapen appearance. The more pronounced cases also cause developmental delays, learning problems, and vision problems from pressure on the brain.
When our pediatrician first uttered those words about our beautiful 7 month old boy, I wanted to hug baby Josiah even closer to my chest as if to shield him from her assessing eyes and those terrifying words. Disbelief and anger welled up in me because I could not reconcile the scary diagnosis and possible prognosis with my sweet smiling Josiah.
While we had noticed the ridge from about 6 months, it was neither overly pronounced to us at that time, nor did our provider do more than casually check it during his 6 month well baby checkup.
It wasn’t until weeks later when the afternoon sun cast the ridge in stark relief that I felt uneasy for the first time. Josiah was growing well, hitting his milestones perfectly but Dr. Google had me running to the phone to make an appointment.
It was an agonizing 3 weeks from learning of Josiah’s condition to arriving at Duke Neurosurgery for our consultation with a specialist. It was 3 weeks of prayer, tears, and supporting each other. I cuddled my son even more than usual (which I didn’t think was possible!) and tried not to analyze everything Josiah did for signs of a delay. It was so hard not to look at his forehead and wonder what the doctors would think and what the scans would show.
To say the mommy guilt was crushing would be an understatement. While it is true that most cases of MT occur without an identifiable reason, nothing could take the heaviness from my shoulders. I could not help but feel as though I had failed my baby. Was it something I did while pregnant? Was there something I ate that affected my milk? Did I not take enough vitamins or…? Guilt is pervasive and hardly rational.
Of course, I could have continued to look for any number of reasons to blame myself but the bottom line is twofold:
1) God’s thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my ways His ways. To get through this uncertain time as a family and to face whatever came our way with grace, we had to go back to God’s Word. It proclaims that He is in full control always. God knows and sees more about our situation than we ever could.
He knew little Josiah as he was being knit together in my womb. God also knew what his skull would look like and why.
My husband and I had to saturate ourselves in prayer as the only way to be strong for Josiah. We prayed to change OUR minds about this chaotic time not God’s mind. We needed to use prayer to keep our eyes on Jesus when guilt, doubt, and fear would have us look inward.
2) This is where my faith had to meet the road. I had to take what I knew intellectually and apply it spiritually. We are called to do that as Believers all the time. Our faith is the gasoline that powers our vehicles/vessels into action.
So I used our cuddle time to thank God for His healing. I began to lay hands on his forehead in prayer and not avoid the lump out of fear. We laughed at silly inside jokes and made our usual Friday night one hitter-quitter chili dogs.
We got through the chaos by getting on with the business of day-today life as a family.
Finally, I chose to remember my place of victory in, by, and through Christ Jesus! So I could stare down the guilt and fear that gripped us, stand and say, “Give us your best shot!” Just like our friend, Rocky.
I am so thankful to report that Josiah does not need scans or further intervention at this point. He is healthy, developing well with no sign of inter-cranial pressure. Since he is on the mild end of the Metopic Synostosis spectrum, our neurosurgeon strongly believes the ridge will even itself out as Josiah grows. We go back in a year to check his progress.
Any excuse to write about the Italian Stallion is a good one in my book but seriously, I wanted a strong visual to show how my family gets through tough times. The trials may not always be as dire or dramatic as our MT scare but we stand strong just the same.
Marthilde is the creator of sunnylifeup.com. A blog, that celebrates family, motherhood, and the natural hair journey. She loves writing, dance, and spending time at the beach with her husband and son.