Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Hearing Update

After two standard newborn hearing screens and two rounds of much more involved testing, Logan has been diagnosed with profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in his left ear.

From my understanding, this means that the nerves that transmit sound from his ear to his brain didn't fully develop. During the testing process, they would send sounds into his ear to watch for the brain's response. The frequency had to be increased significantly (up to the level of a jet engine) in order to see a possible slight response from his left ear. So, his hearing loss has been deemed profound meaning there is little to no hearing in that ear. As a result of such extreme hearing loss, there are going to be several options available to Logan. More testing will need to be done in order to figure out what is going to work best.

When some people find out about Logan's hearing loss, they ask about the other ear. Once I say that the right ear currently hears normally, the response is often, "Oh well, at least he has one good ear." Yes, we are definitely lucky that he has "one good ear", but he is going to be faced with many challenges that most people would never consider. Our bodies were designed to have two ears that work together. During my research, I came across this, which I found interesting:

To your brain, one ear + one ear = three!  A sound that is barely audible at 20 feet away with only 
one ear is easily audible at 30 feet when two ears are listening. This is called the binaural 
summation effect and is the result of the two hearing nerves crossing many hundreds 
of times before the information reaches the cortex.

 Logan doesn't simply hear half as well as the rest of us. From the time he was born, I noticed that he seemed to get overwhelmed and upset in noisy or chaotic environments. For those of us with two hearing ears, we can take in all the sounds that we hear and easily filter out what isn't important to us at the time. For Logan, all of the sounds and speech in a loud environment overload his right ear, making it difficult for him to filter out what he doesn't need to hear. There are times when I feel overwhelmed in a chaotic environment, so I can't imagine how he must feel. It can also be difficult for him to determine where sounds and speech are coming from, which is why he might not look at someone immediately if they speak to him. Listening with just one ear can be tiring and can require much more effort. These are the challenges that he is being faced with at just 4 months old. As he gets older and eventually goes to school, the challenges will only increase. It's hard to not think about the future and how he will do in school, sports, activities, social settings and from a safety perspective.

We are extremely fortunate to live in Toronto, the home of a world renowned children's hospital, Sick Kids. They are currently doing a study on cochlear implants for unilateral hearing loss in babies. This work is only being done in a couple places around the world and the doctor we were lucky enough to see last week, is at the forefront of cochlear implant research. We had met with an audiologist before our appointment with the doctor. By the time he came in, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and didn't think to ask several of the questions running through my head. We are heading back there in the next few weeks because we have decided to start out by getting Logan fitted for a hearing aid. While this likely won't help him much, because his hearing loss is so severe, it will be a chance for him to get used to wearing something on his ear/head. More testing will be required to see if Logan is a candidate for an implant. From the sounds of it, early intervention is key. Implanting as a baby will have a dramatic effect on the way his brain will develop.

For now, I'm in information gathering mode, trying hard not to get too overwhelmed. I definitely do feel sad when I think of the challenges that are ahead. It could be worse though. So much worse. I can certainly put things in perspective, especially when we walk into Sick Kids.

Slight segue....I've been doing a spin class (babies allowed!) to kick my butt back into shape. I've been told repeatedly that I need to protect his good ear, so he wears his ear muffs and looks ridiculously adorable in them! I love them, Logan does not. He figured out quite quickly how to knock them off. The lucky little dude usually gets to leave the room and hang out with one of the people who works at the studio! Spoiled guy ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

4 Months Old!

Mr. Happy turned 4 months old on June 10th! He truly is such a happy guy, a drastic change from his first 8 weeks!

  • I feel like his happiness deserves a bullet point of its own. I'm relieved that he is out of his newborn grump stage. Like most babies, he usually only cries when he's tired, hungry or uncomfortable. He is not a fan of the car, so it has become inevitable that he will cry, even on the shortest of trips. He has the most infectious smile. He smiles with his eyes. His adoration of his sisters continues to grow and the feeling appears to be mutual. 
  • Unfortunately, he did regress in the sleep department. He went from consistently feeding only once in a 12 hour period to being up multiple times. Exhausting. For the most part, I've just been going with the flow, as much as it sucks. For several nights, I caved and just brought him into bed with me. We have a king-sized bed, so luckily there is plenty of room. I'm not trying to get him sleeping on his own again. The transition hasn't been too bad, but he is still up more than I'd like (2-3x per night). Things are really improving on the nap front. He is getting down in his crib at least once per day for a 1 hour nap. His other naps are either in the carrier or car seat. His most consistent nap is first thing in the morning, so once school finishes and I don't have to drop off the girls, I'll get him taking that nap in the crib. 
  • I've given up on pumping and bottles. He consistently refused the bottle which resulted in me dumping liquid gold down the drain. While it is somewhat limiting, it is only temporary. We did go out for dinner -- the little punk waited for me for five hours and then happily guzzled a boob full of milk. It's tough because it makes it harder on the person who is watching him. 
  • He has found his jumping legs! He absolutely loves the Jolly Jumper. I will never forget the look on his face when I put him in it for the first time. Priceless. 
  • He's chomping on his hands like crazy. He's drooling as well, so clearly teeth are coming in. 
  • He loves to chat. He babbles often and loves it when someone talks to him. He seems to imitate the girls when they make specific noises. Quinn will often tell him to "say 'oh'". 
Baby's first jump!

We are constantly on the go with the girls,
so he settles in in the carrier.

Real men wear baby pink sleep suits

Hanging out on the mat at Taekwondo

Trying out the bumbo

Uncle Michael returns from California!
Auntie Paige is back too! 

Teagan brushes her "pony" while telling him that
he is "going to win first prize."

Check out the wrist creases and giant fingers!

Such goofballs

Handsome brothers

The most adorable site from my rearview mirror (not taken
while driving!)

They clean up well :)

Lounging while his sisters play

Friday, June 10, 2016

5 Years Old!

I have two 5-year olds (as of May 29th!). Kids, not toddlers. I've been particularly nostalgic this year as I watch Logan and am reminded of the girls at this stage.

Teagan and Quinn were extremely excited to turn 5 this year. These days, there is a big focus on who is what age. They were given a hard time by their friends who turned 5 late last year or early this year. Not surprisingly, they quickly forgot how much it bothered them and immediately started talking about how their friend, H, was "only" 4. I asked them how it had made them feel a few months ago when their friends did the same thing. "Sad", was the reply. They quickly stopped.

On the morning of their 5th birthday...almost to the exact time of birth :) 7:28am and 7:41am respectively. 

  • The school year is coming to an end and so (almost) completes their first year of Kindergarten. They have both loved and thrived in JK. I couldn't be happier with their school, teacher and program. I love that they're rarely sitting still. They spend their day moving about the classroom to different centres, going to gym class, drama, music and receives tons of outside time, including lots of free play. Both girls really improved in the reading and writing departments. Teagan has an incredible memory and can easily recall words and even books after just reading them once or twice. Quinn seems to really enjoy math and art. She's incredibly creative and often adds a unique spin to art projects. The girls have made some great friends (who have very nice moms - lucky me!), so it's nice to see them thriving socially too. They seem to have a group who they spend most of their time with, but do frequently branch out and play with other kids too. We have had lots of conversations about being kind and inclusive. 
  • Throughout this school year, the girls participated in a variety of sports; skating, hockey, gymnastics, taekwondo, swimming and soccer. They've seemed to really enjoy it all. Swimming has been the only requirement in my book. It's a life skill that is absolutely necessary until they prove to be solid swimmers. The rest of the activities are up to them. Quinn's skating improved a ton this year. She flies around the ice now. She's as fearless as ever - amazing and terrifying for Mommy! Teagan gained quite a bit of confidence throughout the year and is skating much better. They got to play hockey with their two good friends so that was a huge hit. For part of the year, they had a incredible instructor, so getting them off the ice was often tough. Taekwondo was a new addition in the new year. They had seen a karate class and asked me for months if they could try it too. Their class is close by and the instructor is phenomenal -- a lot of fun, but very firm at the same time. The kids really respect him and I love the discipline that martial arts teaches. They're slowly working their way towards the next belt. The girls asked to play soccer this year, but so far, it doesn't seem to be a huge hit. We had to have a talk about trying our best and listening to the instructor at the last class. 
  • The girls have the most incredible imaginations. They rarely play with toys anymore. If they do, the toys are used for something else (ie. dog food at their imaginary pet store).  I am loving this age for their imaginations -- they will get lost in their own little world for ages. One day they are acrobats and the next they are chiropractors adjusting their animals. When they have friends over, they often play "family" or "school". Teagan tells me that she is often the dog! 
  • Their energy still remains endless. They can play for hours, ride scooters, hike 5K and still have energy to spare. They love to wrestle and can be pretty rough with each other. People used to tell me that I was in for it while pregnant with a boy. Poor Logan is going to have to keep up with his sisters! My mom jokes, half-seriously, that their energy comes from being such healthy eaters. Thankfully, they generally are. Quinn has become somewhat picky in the last year or so. She can be quite unpredictable -- liking chicken one day and hating it the next for example. Typical kid, I know. She almost always eats, but sometimes does so reluctantly. She has gone to bed a handful of times not having eaten dinner.  Teagan has always been a solid eater. She gravitates towards healthy, nutrient-dense foods. She devours meals and often tells me how delicious they are :)
Wouldn't want to cross them in a dark alley...

She always wanted to try being a goalie!

Working hard at taekwondo.
They tried climbing recently and loved it!

Ladder practice at taekwondo

Marshall and Everest meet Marshall

Swimming with Grandpa in Florida
And swimming with Mama!

Quiet time in Atty and Grandpa's bed

3 monkeys in Florida 

Beach fun!