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Archive for March, 2009

Trying on Glasses

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 27, 2009

Trying on glasses for the first time

Trying on glasses for the first time

We went to eyedesigns this afternoon to check out glasses for Penny. We tried a metal-rimmed frame with arms that were too big, just to get an idea of how they fit her face. I really didn’t like the idea of wearing those just yet, because they have nosepads that need adjusting, and while they might be flexible to some extent…I just don’t trust them. Penny is going to be moving around alot more pretty soon and we don’t need to be getting her glasses adjusted every time she mashes her face into the floor doing tummy time.

We also tried a pair of Disney Pooh glasses, which hook behind her ears. I didn’t think ones that hook behind the ears would work on someone so little – we’d probably need ones with a strap behind her head. But when we tried these ones on she didn’t try to get them off or anything. So, $370 later, we’d ordered blue frames with warranty and high index lenses. Of course, every employee there had to come over and check out their “youngest patient ever”, and see just how cute Penny was in glasses.
Her glasses are expected to take about 2 weeks to come in. I’m impatient knowing that tummy time is hard when she can’t see what’s right in front of her. I don’t want her to be delayed developmentally because of not being able to see.


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Posted by themoneyfamily on March 27, 2009

We saw the doctor again on the 24th. Penny’s eyes have healed great, and she has no membranes. The doc had said there was a 70-80% chance of these membranes growing and they’d need another surgery to get rid of. So yay Penny! Her left eye is still a little bit swollen, but nothing to worry about.

I can’t even imagine what Penny sees. I got my first pair of glasses when I was 8 years old, and I’m nearsighted. With the lens implants the doctor put in, he’s purposely made Penny farsighted. I don’t know what farsighted looks like, except in theory. I know with nearsightedness, what’s far away is blurry and what’s close up is clear. It’s obviously the opposite for farsightedness. But I can’t understand the concept of looking at something right in front of me and not being able to see it.

Knowing that Penny can’t see what’s right in front of her helps. I can’t get my face right up to hers and expect her to see me. I have to lean back a little. And I do see the difference. If I’m too close to her, she won’t look at me or focus on me. When I back up, I get the most beautiful smiles!

But it’s also made me wonder how this will affect her development. She is supposed to be spending I think half an hour a day on her tummy. This is to strengthen her back and neck muscles and prepare her for rolling over and crawling. She hates it! I’m able to do a minute here and a minute there. And it shows… she has a bit of a flat spot on the back of her head from laying down on her back too much. What the “experts” suggest to do tummy time is to place a mirror or a brightly colored toy in front of them when they’re on their tummy. Doing this won’t work with her, because being farsighted means she can’t see things that close to her. So will this mean it takes her longer to roll over or start crawling? Time will tell… or I will in my next post (since I’m actually posting this in April because I forgot to in March).

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Post Surgery Checkup #2

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 25, 2009

We went back to the hospital yesterday for a second post-surgery checkup. Penny’s left eye is still a little bit swollen, but nothing to worry about. And when they used a light-up toy to get her attention and see if she can track in all directions, she did great! We got a prescription for her glasses… +6.5 in one eye and +7.5 in the other. The doctor said once we put the glasses on her and she sees the difference, she’ll want to have them on all the time. I don’t think it will be that easy, but we’ll see what happens.

Sometime this week I want to go look at glasses for her. They might have to be ordered in, so I want to get started on it soon.

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Surgery #2 – Left Eye Cataract Removal

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 14, 2009

Penny had surgery again yesterday, at the tender age of 9.5 weeks old. They removed the cataract in her left eye, which was the less obstructing of the 2. The doctor thought this one would be easier because of that, but apparently it wasn’t any easier.

I called the hospital on Thursday to get Penny’s surgery time for yesterday. The nurse I spoke to told me 11:20am for surgery, be there at 8, and stop feeding her at 5:30am. I was panicked about that! You can’t make a 9 week old baby wait 6 hours (plus surgery and recovery time) to eat. I expressed my concern (to put it mildly), and the nurse put me on hold to check with the unit nurse. Between them, they decided that 5:30 was the correct time. I explained that last week she only had to go 4 hours without food, not 6. So the nurse started running through the times again for this week. Well…her actual surgery time was 9:40 NOT 11:20! No wonder that seemed like a long time to go without food. Glad we got that straightened out.


Borg transformation 34% complete

Everything went pretty much the same as last time, except the nurses didn’t carry Penny out again. She came back in her crib, but was totally bundled up in blankets and seemed very comfortable. Well, she was sleeping and pretty much stayed that way till we left at 2:30 or 3. She did eat a little when I would hold the bottle up to her lips. Every once in a while she’d let me put it in, take 3 or 4 swallows, then spit it out again. But she ate, she kept it down, and she had a wet diaper – all the things they look for before you can go home. Her oxygen level would only drop this time when she was eating (gulp, gulp, gulp…oh yeah…BREATHE!). I actually thought to write down what drops she got this time, although I’m not sure what they do: Cyclopentolate hydrochloride, Phenylephrine hydrochloride, and Ciprofloxacin (I know that’s an antibiotic).


Sweet sleepy Penny

While we were there, we met another family in for day surgery (poor little guy). Turns out Mom is an optometrist, and recommended a friend of hers for Penny’s glasses when we get them. I mean…Lenscrafters might have kids’ glasses, but I have yet to find anyone who carried BABY glasses. Apparently there’s 2 major manufacturers… Solo Bambini and Miraflex. I just need to find someone in town that carries them. And this guy might, because he only does kids and babies. So, that’s good news for whenever the doc decides she’s ready for them.


Daddy and Penny with matching orange toques. She's definitely going to be Daddy's Little Girl!

We stopped in at the hospital this morning for the doctor to take off Penny’s patch and see how well she’s healing. Looks great again, but drops and ointment to do for a few days. During the surgery, the doctor checked the first eye to see how well it was doing and told us it looks “frickin awesome”! We’ll go back on Tuesday for a follow-up, and go from there, but probably start glasses when she’s around 4 months old.

Yay for Penny being able to SEE! She’s such a strong girl, and so happy and easy-going. If she weren’t as calm as she is about everything, I don’t know how Court and I would have been able to get through this.

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Post-Surgery Checkup

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 5, 2009

This morning, three days after Penny’s surgery, we went in to see the ophthalmologist so see how she is healing. He told us it is heart breaking to have to perform surgery on someone so little, with her eyeballs so soft. But after examining her eye, he said it’s heart lifting to see her looking around and following his light. He is as pleased with her progress as I am, and indicates that it will get even better once her left eye is done as well.

I don’t wish her to have to go through the surgery again, but after seeing how she handled the first one I know she’ll be fine. And I am excited about how much better her life will be when she’s able to see.

In the meantime, I am looking into glasses for her, since the doctor said we’d get her in glasses in about a month. I don’t imagine many places carry frames for babies as young as her, so I’d like to find out now where we can get them, and if necessary order them so they’re in once we get a prescription.

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Bonking Toys

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 4, 2009

I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I could swear Penny looked right at me this morning. I was leaning off the side of the bed looking into her bassinet, and her eyes locked on my face. I have never seen her do that before! It is such a wonderful feeling to know she can see me, especially so soon after her surgery.

Oh, wow! I just got some video of Penny sitting in her bouncer seat and playing with the toy bar over her. The mirror toy is the largest and is on her far right hand side. She looks at it and bonks it with her hand. No control there yet for grasping, but she SEES the toy!

Seeing this progress so early after the surgery gives me hope. It’s not that I thought she wouldn’t see or anything like that. It’s just knowing that the surgery worked and she can get back on track to being a normally developing baby. I am so excited to see her play with that toy!

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1st Surgery – Right Eye Cataract Removal

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 3, 2009

Penny was scheduled for her first surgery at 12:15 on March 2nd. We had to be there at 10:15. She needed drops put in her eyes before the surgery – 3 different drops 3 times in 15 minutes. The first set of drops made her cry, of course. The second set made her scream! For a normally easy-going and happy girl, the sound of that cry was heart-breaking. But, the third set of drops, she didn’t even make a sound.

Penny lying in a hospital crib

Penny lying in a hospital crib

From the pre-op area, the nurse carried Penny into the OR, with a porter pushing her crib behind. It made me feel better that she was carried, like they were going to take better care of her because she was a little baby and not just a patient. I’m not sure if I can put it into words the way I felt. But I think it would have broken my heart to see my little almost 10 pound girl wheeled away in a big 6-foot hospital style crib.

Beautiful Penny eyes

Beautiful Penny eyes

Penny was brought back to the day surgery unit at 3:00 pm. I’m sure for most people, that 3 hours would have felt like forever. For me it didn’t, thought I’m not sure why. Again, the nurse carried her instead of wheeling her. I had been waiting since 8:15 to feed her, and unfortunately had just pumped my breastmilk. So I fed her from a bottle – which actually worked better in this case. She was hungry, but still quite groggy. So the first ounce and a half was eaten a little at a time. Then all of a sudden she realized how hungry she was and chugged the rest. This was the first obstacle we had to overcome. The second would be holding down her meal. She did that as well.

Post-surgery Penny snuggling with her daddy

Post-surgery Penny snuggling with her daddy

Unfortunately Penny’s oxygen level kept dropping. Usually to about 85% when it should be between 95-100%. Twice that I saw it dropped to below 80%. But as soon as the alarm went off, her oxygen level would go right back up to where it should be. The nurse thought it was a kind of apnea, where Penny would stop breathing, and as soon as the alarm went off it would startle her into breathing again. By 8:00, she’d been on oxygen to keep her levels up, still hadn’t had a wet diaper, and the nurses were a little bit worried. They called the anesthesiologist, who decided to keep us overnight for observation. By morning she was able to go without the pumped oxygen, so the anesthetic had finally worn off. She had one bout of fussiness at 5:30 where she only wanted to cry. But when a baby gets upset like that, their oxygen level goes down and their heart rate goes up. I had alarms going off for both, plus the O2 meter kept sliding on her toe, so the alarm would go off saying it couldn’t read her at all. And my poor baby was crying and attached to all these cords so I couldn’t go get a nurse to shut the alarms off. Finally, a nurse came and helped. Shortly after we did everything to stop her crying – fed her, changed her diaper, swaddled her and took her for a walk around the unit. Something worked because it put her to sleep.

We were discharged at 10:30 this morning, and headed down a floor to the vision clinic to see a doctor there at 11:00. The doctor pulled off her eye patch – which made her scream again, and checked out her eye. The doctor didn’t say much to me, just that it looked good, and that I should bring her back on Thursday. We got prescriptions for Tobradex (Tobramycin-Dexamethason Op) ointment which is a corticosteroid and antibiotic, and San Prednisolone (Prednisolon Ace Oph) which is a corticosteroid eyedrop.

So, surgery #1 is done. My baby girl still smiles at me, and I can still breastfeed her (if with a little difficulty feeding from one side). I’d say it’s been a success and not the most stressful 2 days by far. Surgery #2 is coming up on the 13th for her other eye.

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The discovery

Posted by themoneyfamily on March 3, 2009

On Thursday, February 12, 2009, I was at the computer with Penny on my lap. I just happened to have the light at the right angle to notice that her left pupil looked cloudy. I knew Court had been born with cataracts, but I didn’t know what cataracts looked like. I called Court to ask him if it could be cataracts, and he thought it might be. He suggested we talk to our family doctor the next week when I had my 6 week follow up after Penny’s birth.

I couldn’t wait that long, and called my optometrist to see if he could check her. They got us in first thing the next morning, and confirmed that she had a cataract in her left eye. They were trying to call the Children’s Hospital to put in a referral for us, but the vision clinic wasn’t open that early. Penny and I went home anticipating a call later that day to make an appointment at the vision clinic.

At 10:30, I had the car running to warm up so we could go to the library. The vision clinic called and asked if I could make it in that day. Then asked if I could come in right away. Not a problem, since I’m on maternity leave.

The ophthamologist was on call that day for emergencies, and Penny was considered an emergency. Her eyes hadn’t developed yet, nor had the muscles controlling them. It was vitally important that we get the cataract out as soon as possible so we could get her eyes back on track growing properly, and before extra surgeries would be needed to fix what growing had already happened. We got in to see him right away, and he not only confirmed the cataract but told us Penny also had one in her right eye and that the right eye was actually worse.

We were scheduled for surgeries on March 2nd and March 13th.

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