Its Spring Break, and hopefully my students are taking some time to relax, reacquaint themselves with their families, and get in some quality studying =)
There are so many other things on their minds, but I wanted to revisit a discussion we were having about cephalohematoma and the difference between it and caput on newborn babies. Caput is swelling and crosses suture lines, cephalo is blood and does not, to put it simply. We were talking about the fact that they both ‘go away’, which made me share my first born’s cephalohematoma story. I’ll share it here, complete with pictures.
Here is Kai a few days after birth. It actually took time for the cephalo to be noticeable, with all of the caput and molding.
As a nurse I was always taught it would go away, so I didn’t want to worry too much. As a mom, I worried a lot, but consoled myself that it would go away.
It didn’t go away. Everyone continued to say it would: nurse practitioners, family practice docs, midwives, nurses, pediatricians. As I was working in a clinic at the time a lot of care providers were able to see him, and everyone assured us it would go away. It did not.
I don’t remember the time frame, but eventually it started to harden. Now I got really worried. It wasn’t going to go away, so what did that mean for him?
We eventually got a referral for an ultrasound and a visit with a specialist at Gillette (I don’t remember how old Kai was, maybe 2 months?). It was clear on the ultrasound that it had calcified. The specialist was wonderful and incredibly reassuring. He let us know that he saw this all the time and it was no big deal, without making us feel stupid for being there.
He said that Kai’s head would grow but the cephalo would not. So would it ever really go away? No. But soon it would not be noticeable, especially with hair (which he still didn’t have much of). He also told us that if the cephalo was still noticeable when Kai’s getting ready to start school that we should bring him back. In all the years he’s said that to parents only 1 child has come back.
Needless to say it was hardly noticeable before long…
So what should we say to a scared parent of a 1 or 2 day old with a cephalohematoma? Should we say it will go away? What do you think?