My name is Susan Reynolds and I’m just a mom.
I am Ian’s mom, and I am trying to make a difference in preventative pediatric care for military children. My son serves as my inspiration and my husband is my support.
Ian Thomas Reynolds was born on August 12, 2010. He came almost four weeks early and was tiny, but healthy. Ian wasn’t early enough for our doctor to be overly concerned, but he and the staff were cautious. The hospital staff practiced what I like to call “preventative care.”
Ian was placed under warmers, swaddled, feed frequently, snuggled, and given a chance to maintain his birth weight. The goal was for Ian to be healthy enough for him to come home with me.
And he did.
As I reflect on that time, I had no idea the precedent the staff was establishing in my life as a new mom. I watched people care for my son like he was their own child. I saw the way he was held, changed, the assistance I was given when feeding was exemplary. I was reassured that my instincts as his mother should never be ignored, and as a family my husband and I would always know what to do.
As always the first few weeks with a newborn are interesting, and as typical military life goes, we were moving. It was in the weeks before my family moved that Ian developed a flat spot on one side of his head, or Plagiocephaly. With the impending move, there wasn’t much the former pediatrician could do. So, the weekend before Halloween, my husband and I packed up two cars, a newborn, a cat, and drove from Nebraska to North Carolina.
Side Effect of SIDS
In 1992 the American Academy of Pediatrics started recommending that newborns should be placed on their backs to sleep in order to reduce the amount of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. By 1994 a full “Back to Sleep” campaign was launched. In the past 20 years SIDS deaths have decreased by almost 40 percent. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of placing newborns with malleable skulls on their backs is a flattening of their skulls, or Plagiocephaly. As a result of this flattening, infants would require an orthotic device to remodel their skulls.
Fast forward to April 2011 when my family was hit with what I call, the “trifecta of trouble”.
My husband was sent on a rapid deployment, I was diagnosed with a hernia that needed repair, and our rental home was lost to the tornadoes in NC. I saved what I could, moved my family into a hotel, said goodbye to my husband, postponed my surgery, moved in with my mother, bought a house, and took care of my eight month old infant who was now battling ear infections.
I knew in my heart that he wasn’t receiving the best preventative medical treatment for his Plagiocephaly and something had to be done.
I began my push for Ian’s helmet.