I had a difficult delivery, with more than 20 hours in labor before being rushed in for an emergency C-section because my baby had a bigger head size and wouldn’t engage for a normal landing. But oh my, when he arrived on Christmas afternoon it was a sight to behold. The rest of our four days in the hospital were the regular drill including various check-ups and doctors visiting us. We arrived home with him as elated new parents and a new life started with this little one in tow.
We got to know each other and bond in those early days, the days were mostly filled with cuddling and playtime. It seemed like all he did was sleep, eat, cry, and poop. Just like that – 5 weeks flew by amidst diaper changes, feeding, burping, and learning about parenting. One late night when he was having one of those sleeping tantrums, we noticed a huge bulging lump on his head that looked unusual and felt jiggly and squishy to touch. It measured 8 inches from end to end. Thankfully, it was painless for him though.
Ill at ease, we booked an appointment to see his pediatrician the next day. After some initial checking, the doctor confirmed that it was a chronic infant hematoma or newborn cephalohematoma, which is a birth injury when the baby’s head is pushed against their mother’s pelvis. There was a pocket of blood underneath his scalp due to ruptured blood cells. The doctor further assured us that it was pretty common and does not present any problem to the baby and that it would disappear on its own in a few weeks.
He asked us to carefully monitor it because it should begin to shrink and be gone in a month. But to our disappointment, we didn’t see any improvements in the following month so we returned to see the doctor. He recommended an additional x-ray and CT scan to confirm that it was a cephalohematoma and not something severe. It retained its original size for a couple of more weeks before it started shrinking. By the time he was 20 weeks old, the lump size had decreased significantly and was gone before his first birthday.
Although in the end, everything was in our favor without any harrowing experience, this was an emotional experience. It served as an epiphany while helping us grow stronger as parents and nurture empathy for all other families who go through difficult parenting experiences.
Vaijayanti is the mother of a 2 year-old and lives in Dublin