Rachel has grown a lot. She weighs 34 pounds and is 3 feet, 3 inches. She is the appropriate size for her age.
The biggest news is that Rachel will most likely be getting the cochlear implant. We have had to go through so many evaluations and tests the past couple of months. Rachel has been getting evaluations at The Center for Hearing and Speech here in Houston. Rachel has one more evaluation before we get the final verdict, but they have said that they will most likely recommend the cochlear implant. We are so ready to get it going and get her hearing sounds. Rachel has been wearing more powerful hearing aids lately in hopes they will help her hear. Its still a struggle at times to get her to wear them, but I do think she hears a little with them. Whenever I clap loud she will smile and get excited. She is hearing the clapping, but I don't think the hearing aids are helping her enough to help her hear more sounds and to learn how to talk. Time is ticking fast and I think the sooner she gets the cochlear implant and hearing sounds the better.
As for the update on her developmental progress, Rachel is making progress. Rachel has been tested to see what her developmental age is and she is around an 18-24 month old. She is still very far behind developmentally. Its hard to say exactly every little thing she has made progress on lately, but she is making progress. I see several things that she is picking up on and doing. Rachel is a very curious girl. She studies and observes everything we do. She likes to copy what we or her teachers do. Rachel likes to stay busy doing something. She likes to "work" as her teacher says. Rachel is still getting therapy from the occupational, physical and speech therapists. They come 3-4 times a week. She is still not eating by mouth though she is interested in food now. She is wanting to "try" foods. We try her with a large variety of foods to help her experience food. She puts food in her mouth willingly, but still won't swallow it. She has been swallowing small amounts of liquid. Its so hard to teach a 3 year old who can't hear how to swallow. We would love to put her into an intensive feeding program, but Houston doesn't have such a program. She has an OT that comes 3 times a week to help her. One day, most likely years down the road she will learn to swallow and eat.
Rachel saw her neurologist and he said he is happy with how things are going despite her very early arrival. He did say that she has cerebral palsy. One would think that cerebral palsy affects mobility, but 10% of cerebral palsy is vision and/or hearing problems as well as developmental delays. Rachel does have some right sided weakness as well, but she walks ok. She continues to wear the ankle supports to assist in strengthening her walking.
Other updates are that she is finally out of her crib and sleeping well in a toddler bed. We made this change about a month ago. She is a good sleeper and the change was not too difficult. Rachel is still working on potty training. Slowly but surely she will learn. She is still wearing diapers, but she is slowly getting the concept of the big potty.
Haley is doing well. Haley continues to be a petite girl. She weighs 26 pounds and is 2 feet, 9 inches tall. She is just going to be small for her age, but that is ok. She is relatively healthy.
Haley continues to have some issues with eating, but she has improved! She likes crunchy foods like graham crackers, chips, etc. We still have to grind up her foods to smaller pieces because she still has a weak chew, but again its getting better. She is enjoying to eat more lately which is good.
She is doing good visually. She has been evaluated and checked at the University of Houston eye institute. She got a contact lens for her right eye to aid in her vision. She also got new glasses for when she is not wearing the contact lens. Haley gets around fairly well for her limited vision so we know she has some vision. We are so blessed!
Last month (May), Haley had a sedated hearing test. They were able to get a complete detailed hearing test. The results show her hearing has not changed. She still has moderate to severe hearing loss. They reprogrammed her hearing aids and she has responded well to them. So with new glasses and correctly programmed hearing aids, Haley is good to go!
Haley continues to make some developmental progress. I don't know exactly what age she is at developmentally, but I assume she is around a 12-18 month old. Due to her vision and hearing loss she has more of a struggle, but she is a strong little girl. She is a happy girl despite her disabilities.
Haley saw the neurologist as well and she has also been diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to her vision loss, hearing loss and developmental delays. Haley has no problems with her mobility at all. We have been so blessed with that since she did have a grade 4 head bleed at birth.
Haley is also still working on potty training. With lots of time she will get the hang of it.
Despite these challenges and disabilities, we are so blessed to have these girls here with us. They are happy, healthy and cared for. We love them for who they are. They are teaching us so much and will continue to teach us.