Monday, August 6, 2012

Ear Tubes...

This morning we had our first visit with an ENT.  Children with a cleft palate usually work closely with an ENT until their palate is completely closed and secure because it is impossible to keep fluids out of the ears while there are still holes in the palate, and when this is left untreated, hearing loss occurs.  Hannah received ear tubes at some point in China, but by the time we got home, they were out of the ear drum not doing her a bit of good! So, off to the ENT we go!  He confirmed that the ear tubes she has are worthless and did some testing.  Unfortunately, Hannah already has fluid buildup in her ears again and is having some hearing loss because of the fluid. :(  Usually, the ENT will wait until the child is already under anesthesia for a lip or palate surgery and jump in to do ear tubes at the same time, but Hannah's next lip surgery isn't until January and the doctor does not think it is wise to wait that long.  In order to avoid possible permanent hearing loss, Hannah will have ear tube surgery next Tuesday, August 14.  It should be short and easy, but it is surgery with anesthesia, which is always a bit scary!

The good news is that Hannah did better today with the doctors and did great with the hearing test - even cheering after each part was done!  She didn't cry in  her car seat until we had already been in the car for almost 30 minutes, too - a HUGE improvement!  At the end of our visit, the kids all got helium balloons.  Hannah wasn't so sure what to think of this magical floating balloon at first, but she quickly figured out that pounding on it was great fun! I quickly found out that tying it to her wrist is a big mistake, too... :)  Here's a picture of Hannah on the way home, sound asleep in her car seat, but still holding onto her balloon!

This past weekend, we also got to meet new baby Jack! I was shocked that although both Drew and Hannah get jealous of each other in my lap, neither cared that I was holding a newborn! I think it is funny how they are both blurs in the picture - so true to life! They never slow down!

And, no big surprise here, Hannah loved wearing a necklace to church on Sunday! There is a matching bracelet, but it was too big, so I put it around her ankle.  She LOVED that! She admired her jewelry all day long!  Jerry tried to snap a picture, but the lighting was horrible and we were running late (also no surprise) so it isn't the best - but Hannah is cute anyway!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I had really planned on posting here more often...but for some reason I forget what it is like adding a new child to the family!  However, as much work as it has been, and as tired as we have been, this has been an amazing first month home with Hannah.  She shows us more and more of her personality all the time and we are constantly amazed at just how perfect she is for our family!  Here are some highlights:

1. Hannah was not sleeping well when we first got home.  Not only was she in a whole new place with new people, new sights, new smells, new language...she had never slept in a room alone before.  We spent many hours in her room at night sitting next to her crib so she could calm down.  Now, we put her down for bed after a night bottle, and she sleeps for 10 hours! She still is a bit frantic when she is up for the morning and doesn't calm down until we come get her, but she is feeling more and more secure!
Her first week home - enjoying all the new toys!

2. Regardless of all we heard about kids who have been in an orphanage, Hannah is the most picky eater! This is actually the area in which we battle most.  She likes all carbs, especially sweets, but will not eat meat or many veggies.  She also was not introduced to many textures, so if it isn't pureed or really soft, she is not a fan. When she came home, she was still on 4 bottles of formula a day! We have her down to 3 and have switched her to whole milk, but I think it is going to take a while to get her off of those completely.
Hannah is also a very messy eater...  After this snack, she fell fast asleep in her chair!

Aaron and Hannah have a special bond.

3. This child is super smart!  Hannah already understands so much English it is scary! We have also been able to teach her to make different, distinguishable sounds for Mama, Aaron, brother, Grandma, and up.  None of it (except for Mama) sounds like you might think because of her cleft, but she is trying like crazy! She also has signs for ceiling fan, please, thank you, more, eat, milk, and all done.
Playing with fridge magnets.
Pointing to the ceiling fan.  Hannah *loves* fans!

4. Hannah has always wanted to be held and carried, but she struggled to be truly affectionate or completely relax in our arms or during a bottle feeding.  This is rapidly changing! She seeks out affection from all of us, gives kisses and hugs, and snuggles like nobody's business! The first time she truly relaxed and let herself fall fully asleep curled up in my arms with her head on my chest was magical.  When she also then trusted me enough to transition to her crib without jerking herself awake with fright was also amazing.

Ethan, making Hannah giggle with tummy rubs!

Watching Dora with Andrew!

5. Hannah *loves* her brothers! Andrew is a great playmate and is always bringing her toys.  Ethan is so goofy with her and always trying to make her laugh or imitate him! Aaron is absolutely wonderful with Hannah.  He comforts her when she is upset, carries her around, wrestles with her, and can make her laugh and laugh!

6.  Hannah is a girly-girl.  She loves dresses, shoes (even has favorites), bows in her hair, and dolls.  Even so, she is a daddy's girl BIG TIME and loves to wrestle, climb, spin, be upside-down and anything else she can convince her daddy to do with her! What a great combo!
Clinging to Daddy!

As you can tell, we are smitten!  As for Hannah's future health-wise, we have taken her to see a doctor in the cleft palate team and although her palate repair was done very well, it didn't close completely (something that is expected with the type she had) and her lip repair was cosmetic only so the muscles in her upper lip are not attached. This causes a lot of problems, especially with speech development since she cannot move her upper lip to make certain noises.  She is scheduled for surgery in January to re-do her lip repair, and then in December of 2013 to finish closing her palate and lengthen part of her nose to give her better ability to breathe.  She also has to have ear tubes replaced this month and we are seeing a pediatric dentist next month to deal with several rotten teeth.  I hate that she has to go through these things, but she handles them all like a trooper!
Family of 6. Love.