Hannah's surgery date is less than two weeks away. It has been an event we have been waiting for for about seven months and a date marked on the calendar for about six weeks. We took the final step today for the surgery- the pre-op blood work. We walked from therapy the nine blocks to New York University. Taking her to the hospital to have blood drawn is never easy. It's something you don't expect to be doing. She woke from her nap to find two very baby-friendly medical assistants poking at her chubby little arms for a vein. It took awhile to find one, but eventually they were able to get a blood sample.
While the implants will be a new journey for us, another one is coming to an end. We picked up the last of her ear molds today for her hearing aids. We took trip downtown this afternoon to The Center to make sure they fit. They are pink and sparkly. She won't need ear molds once she has her implants on since she will be wearing a body worn sound processor as opposed to one that's worn behind-the-ear (BTE). She will be starting with Advanced Bionics' latest device called Neptune. I'm so excited for her not have anything in and on her ears. I think she'll be a bit more comfortable and we're beyond excited she won't be pulling on her hearing aids anymore. They make such a yummy toy for Hannah.
All of this is so worth it. Hannah is proving to be one smart little girl. This morning at speech therapy with Liz, Hannah was really amazing. Hannah started her session with Liz playing a note on the sing-a-long piano and at the same time singing out a "la" to go with each note. When Liz was finished with singing her note, Hannah would hear the silence. We hoped Hannah would understand this silence to mean it would be her turn to speak. That would indicate Hannah heard the sound, recognized the sound ended and figured out it was her turn to speak. Well, much to our delight, Hannah was a regular Pavarotti, showing off her "turn taking" singing skills with Liz. And it got even better. Liz played with different tones so her voice eventually got a little higher. We think Hannah's heard the differences in Liz's voice because each time Liz changed the tone, Hannah responded with the corresponding pitch. Liz was so impressed she wanted to record Hannah's shining moment on the video camera, but her machine wasn't set up correctly. It really seems Hannah was enjoying herself this morning, really chatting up a storm. It never stops to amaze me when Hannah detects sound, grasps meaning in them and uses her little voice to let us know she wants something. It's something I never thought about before but I sure know I will never take advantage of again.
Hannah gets a report card from Liz after each session. Here is what Liz said after today:
"Highly verbal session with extensive back and forth with syllabic sequences with: la, ya, ba and vowels. Definitely using speech to make something happen. Spinning toys and musical playground elicited sustained attention. Also able to demonstrate some association with "Learning to Listen sounds (esp. Sophie (lalala), cow (Mmmm) and /aaa/."
While having to go for the blood work and make another trip downtown is not exactly how I wanted to be spending my day, having the morning start by listening to Hannah giggle and be so chatty (and her pretty smile) makes it all worth it. She only stands to hear so much more with her cochlear implant, which will make her that much more confident in her life.