Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rachel's cochlear implant turned on for the first time

Rachel's cochlear implant was turned on for the first time Monday September 23!  It was so exciting to see her hear sounds and to see how she reacted!  When it was turned on she hid her face, but she was smiling!  She has not heard many sounds before so this is all new to her.  With time she will become familiar to sound and hopefully she will learn to talk.  She will be getting speech therapy at the Center for Hearing once a week to help her toward talking.  We are so happy that she finally has this wonderful technology for her to hear.  This will be great for her and we look forward to all that she will hear, learn and experience.

Audiologist putting the outside sound processor on her
Audiologist and I practicing putting on the head piece

Below is the video of when the cochlear implant was turned on.  She was hiding her face, but you can see she was smiling.  So wonderful to see her reaction!  

More pictures of Rachel wearing the outside part (sound processor) of the cochlear implant. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kayla is 21 Months

Here is an update on my active, fun-loving, outgoing youngest little girl!  I can't believe she will be 2 in just 3 short months.  I still remember the day she was born.  Why does time have to go so fast?!  Kayla is just growing up so fast with all the things she is doing now.  She is becoming miss independant!

I have several pictures of Kayla this month.  She cooperated well for her photo shoot and I couldn't narrow it down to just a few.  I'm venturing out with my photography - I took these pictures in 100% manual mode!  I usually use aperture priority or sometimes shutter priority mode.  With my new camera (got it back in March), I even have been guilty of sometimes using the automatic mode which is not the best to do if you want professional looking pictures.  I am happy with these pictures seeing I took them using manual.  I definitely will be using manual more often.  It's not as scary as I thought it would be.  I edit all my pictures using Lightroom and I make them colorful and sharp, but for some reason Blogger makes my pictures look not so colorful and somewhat grainy.  Not sure how to fix that!?

On September 9, Kayla weighed 22 lbs, 12 oz.  Not sure how Kayla stays so petite because she loves to eat!  She is somewhat picky and won't eat some things, but on the most part she eats good.  Of course she prefers the not so healthy foods (junk foods).  I do limit those foods.  She loves her mandarin oranges and applesauce.  She is a bread eater and loves waffles, pancakes, raisin bread, rolls, etc...  Kayla is doing so well using her kid size forks and spoons.  I also switched her sippy cup to a 24 month + cup.  No more sippy cups with the spout for her.  She loves her new cup!  

Kayla's language continues to develop and progress.  She is adding new words to her vocabulary all the time.  She continues to use her sign language as well.  Kayla is going to be a non-stop talker!  Kayla's favorite words lately have been "NO" and "Mine".  Very typical for this age.    

Kayla pretends play that she is talking on the phone with her toy phone.  She really gets into it and acts as though she is having a conversation with someone.  It makes me laugh!  

Kayla has gotten into climbing!  She is taking after her sister Haley.  They are both daredevils.  Kayla likes to climb into her high chair as well as onto other things.  I have to watch her and Haley closely! 

Kayla gets so excited when Rachel and Haley's therapists come to work with them as well as when daddy or I come home.  I've never seen such pure joy and excitement in a kid before. 

Kayla has made some small progress in the direction to potty training.  She signs potty as well as likes to sit on the potty.  So far she has used the big potty one time!  I'm so proud of her!   

Kayla hates to take her naps and go to bed at night.  She puts up a fight, but once she is down she will sleep 1 1/2 hours for her naps and about 12 hours at night.  

Kayla is so full of energy, but is so loving and sweet.  When someone is leaving our house she will tell them bye, bye.  She also loves to give hugs and kisses.  We love her so very much and continue to thank our Heavenly Father for her and her big sisters.    

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rachel's Cochlear Implant Surgery

Rachel had her cochlear implant surgery Thursday September 5th!  She finally got it!  We are happy to announce that all went well with the surgery and that her cochlear implant is in!  Read below for more details of her implant surgery day and the pictures.

Rachel's surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am on the 5th.  We had to be at Texas Children's Hospital at 6am. It was an early morning for us, but Rachel did well with the early wake up call.  Once we arrived at Texas Children's she enjoyed the toys while we waited for her turn to get checked in.

Playing in the toy car

Here is Rachel after she was checked in and assessed.  All ready to go to be taken back to the operating room.  Her doctor/surgeon - Dr. Vilela decided to put the implant in her right ear.  The right ear is her worst ear and the one that gets infected the most.  Dr. Vilela said that the surgery to put the cochlear implant in will also help to decrease the ear infections.  We hope down the road that she will be able to get her left ear implanted.

Rachel and daddy

Her right ear marked for surgery

She was taken back to the operating room and we went to the waiting room to wait and wait and wait.  We were told the surgery would take about 3 or more hours.  It took about 3 hours.  Dr. Vilela came out to talk to us and told us the surgery went well and the cochlear implant looked good.  They did a test while she was still in the OR and the implant is working (just not activated/turned on yet).  Once she was taken to the recovery room we were allowed to see her.  Rachel was sleeping when we came to see her, but she soon woke up more and was fussy.  Rachel usually doesn't do well with anesthesia, but this time around she did better than she had in the past.  She just wanted to be held - totally understandable.  Sweet Rachel was a trooper!

This is how she was when we first saw her
Daddy holding her
 Finally after an hour or so she was taken to a patient room.  The doctor wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  We knew this was going to happen.  I think with Rachel having a history of being so premature, the doctors get a little nervous sending her home after surgery.  Cochlear implant surgeries are typically a day surgery procedure.  Once we got to her room, Rachel continued to sleep off and on.  She was out of it.  She was also very nauseous and kept retching.  She was given a pain medicine in the recovery room that we assume didn't sit well with her on an empty stomach.  She was given nausea medication and finally able to get the nausea under control and feed her through her g-button.

Rachel still sleepy from the anesthesia
Rachel waking up some, but still out of it from the meds

After Rachel got a feeding, she started to perk up and started acting her normal active self.  Since waking up in recovery, Rachel had been trying to pull off the head bandage.  So once she was more awake she finally got that bandage off.  She is so persistent/determined and strong that its hard to stop her.  The problem with this was there was a drain tube from the incision site sticking out.  Well guess what happened once she could get to that drain tube - she pulled it out!  Rachel just doesn't like anything on her head that bothers her.  The doctor was called and he was ok with it.  Thank Goodness there were no complications from her pulling out the drain tube. (Next set of pictures are a little graphic - so warning!)

Drain tube still in before she pulled it out

After she pulled out the tube
Rachel did well overnight at the hospital and was discharged at about 10am on the 6th.  She is home and doing well.  She was acting almost 100% her normal self.  Rachel is a trooper and made it through this well.  We are so proud of her!  Her cochlear implant will be turned on September 23rd.  We look forward to that day and hope and pray that she will have a good experience when she hears sounds.  Also I forgot to mention that we chose the Advanced Bionics cochlear implant.  Cochlear implants are just amazing and I am so grateful for this technology!

Incision site healing well

Rachel glad to be home