Sunday, April 22, 2012

11 Months, Left Ear Activation and Near Perfection on the Right

Hannah turned 11 months on Friday, hard to believe. I can already start to feel the wave of emotions as I think about her first year coming to a close. 
Hannah is 11 months

We started the day with Megan, Hannah's audiologist. It was a two-part appointment as we missed the third mapping earlier in the week when Hannah was sick. The first part was to officially test and see where Hannah's hearing stood after a month of wearing her implant. To do this, Megan felt Hannah was ready to go into a hearing booth. Then after her right ear was tested and mapped, we were going to finally activate her left ear, almost two months after her surgery. 

Megan wanted to see how Hannah would do in a sound booth since she responded so well during the first two mappings. Hannah sat on my lap and listened to a series of different beeps and sounds that were piped directly into her implant. This was a more controlled setting than the previous mappings and would give a more clear picture of how Hannah was hearing and how softly Hannah could hear. Hannah did really well, turning to looking at the drumming panda in the box like she did during the mapping sessions. When it was over, Megan came into the room with a huge smile, saying she was really pleased. 

Megan showed us Hannah's audiogram, a graph that shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different pitches or frequencies. Hannah is now hearing almost at normal levels in her right ear! It is in the upper range of the hearing banana. She was now hearing between 20 and 30 decibels with her cochlear implants, from 50-70 with her hearing aids and 90-110 unaided. What this means is that Hannah could now hear all the sounds in the speech banana, from the low to the highs and everything in between. Needless to say, I cried. This is a true miracle.

To see Hannah's unaided audiogram, click here. To see Hannah's new audiogram with the cochlear implants, click here

After, the right ear, Hannah's left ear was activated much like her right ear. Hannah's right ear processor was now removed and Megan only worked on her left one. After various tones piped directly into her left implant to test Hannah's threshold on the left side, the base levels were set and we will gradually bump up the sound on the left side during the week while only tweaking the right. Here's a small sampling of her left ear activation. Note in the video how Hannah's says "Up" when she drops a toy. She's such a smart cookie.

Hannah now has two Neptunes - two headmics and two processors attached to her tiny body. It's a lot of equipment, it's a lot of times they fall off. But we are seeing our little girl come alive with sound and it is glorious. 

Afterwards, Hannah and I headed uptown to visit Grandpa in the hospital where he was recouping from hip replacement surgery that morning. Hannah, you sure brought a smile to my Daddy's face!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mama I'm Sick

Hannah caught her first virus. I just wanted to snuggle with her and make it go away. From Sunday night through Tuesday Hannah had some sort of stomach virus that sent her temperature soaring to 104.3. But, BUT Hannah gave me a gift. She uttered the word Mama today. She knows I'm her Mama, but may not know to call me that as everything is mama. I don't care, she will. I just love hearing her voice. It's so beautiful.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hannah's First Subway Ride to The Stadium

I remember my first Yankee game. It was 1977. The price of gas was .66 and the number one song in the land was Rod Stewart's Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright). I remember my father explaining to my as we were filling our Gremlin's tank that the Yankees were playing the Detroit Tigers in a double header. He told me we didn't have to stay for the whole game, that the second game was free. True to form, we stayed for both games. We sat under the bright blue sky for hours, it was one of the most magical days. My dad and I have returned to Yankee stadium numerous times over the years, including the 2001 World Series, when the Yankees played the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The love of going to a Yankee game is also shared with Michael. So taking our child to Yankee Stadium was a day we have been looking forward to experiencing since I was pregnant. There would be no doubt which team he or she would be rooting for. After all, Hannah will be a fourth generation Yankee fan in our family. We're such Yankees fans, that when we found out we could see the Mets play in early May with Center for Hearing and Communication, both of our first reactions was "No way would Hannah's first baseball game be with the Mets" and immediately bought Yankee tickets for a game before the Mets.

We left for the Stadium bright and early on Saturday. It would be Hannah's first subway ride too. We navigated all the stairs at the 59th Street subway stop and got out in the Boogie Down. Like in 1977, the day was beautiful, bright and sunny. We were like kids in a candy store, excited to share with Hannah Yankee lore and Lobel's. We got to our seats about 20 minutes before the first pitch, took our photos and ate our lunch. Hannah was asleep by the first pitch.

Hannah woke up by the fourth inning, but the Yankee bats were still asleep. Hannah didn't seem to mind. She just has a zest for life and started her waving and smiling. What a ham. By the 9th inning, with the Yankee down 7-1, Yankee Stadium was quiet except for Hannah, a true Yankee fan.

Monday, April 9, 2012

NYC Exodus

Hannah and I celebrated her Passover in New Jersey with Grandma and Grandpa. Michael had a wedding in Cape May so us ladies were on our own. Hannah had been practicing the Seder all week and she rose to the occasion on Friday night. Maybe next year she can read the four questions. She also got to try all sorts of new foods like matzah brie and matzah balls, which she particularly loved and which made Grandma very happy. Three days of photographing Hannah made Grandpa very happy.

Passover practice
All this Matzah is making me gassy.
Hannah's first Matzah Ball. Diagnosis: Delicious.
Michael came bac to join us on Sunday and we went to the Duck Pond in Ridgewood, NJ. It was really great there and Hannah had a lot of fun on the swings and slides. She came face-to-face with some pretty aggressive ducks and we made some loud quaking sounds of our own.

My peeps on Easter Sunday

The weekend ended with a trip to New York Eye & Ear Infirmary on Sunday afternoon. Hannah's incision on her left ear got red and a little swollen and we thought it best to get checked out. I was so nervous there could be something wrong with the implant and she would have to have it removed. Fortunately for Hannah, it turned out that one of the stitched never dissolved and it caused a little swelling. She had to have it drained and she was not happy. After a day on antibiotics and some ointment, the incision looks much better and I'm feeling much better. I'm glad we got it checked out.

I hope everyone had a happy and sweet Passover and Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thank you, First World and More Encouraging Signs

A HUGE thank you to everyone for all the heartfelt messages about Hannah's TV debut and sharing in her activation day. Our phones and Email and Facebook accounts have been ablaze with so many kind words. Hannah is one lucky little girl to have so much loving support.

We had a small viewing party at our apartment for Hannah's TV debut. We shared the special moment with Grandma and Grandpa and later Hannah's friend Parker came over and we got to watch the show again. I thought the newscast came out great and Dr. Max Gomez did an amazing job telling Hannah's hearing journey. I think he should definitely do a followup in a few years.

Hannah, me and Parker

A week after her initial activation, this past Thursday, Hannah had her second mapping appointment with her audiologist Megan. Megan gave Hannah a new set of programs based on what Hannah was comfortable hearing now. Since Hannah had been using the Neptunes for a week, and slowly getting used to the new sound, she was ready for more volume. As a result of the increased sound this past week, she has become more animated, turns to sounds - both loud and soft and has been even practicing a couple of new sounds.

Hannah is lighting up the room with her charming personality. Since she has gotten her Neptune sound processors almost two weeks ago, she has been so darn happy. She waves to everyone, flashing her pearly whites in the biggest smile. Everyone she meets or passes in the street are just dazzled by her. She was always pretty friendly, but we have definitely  noticed she's even more animated. My parents took Hannah to lunch and the entire staff at the restaurant raved about what a cute, happy baby Hannah is.

This past Saturday, we took her to music class at Three Little Birds. She just loves the music class. Hannah seemed a little more comfortable, a bit more confident. For the first time Hannah crawled to the middle of the room to look at the map (each week, the music theme is based on a different state and the class starts with the teacher showing the children a map of the US). She also was more responsive when the teacher. The pianist told Michael and I she has seen a big change in Hannah this week.

Hannah checking out the bassoon.

Also, another encouraging sign happened today during speech therapy. Hannah is now responding to soft sounds. Liz plays a toy CD player that plays soft music that until today Hannah hasn't responded to yet. Today, on several occasions Hannah turned to the soft sound. This was amazing. You have to remember that Hannah's hearing is like a baby who is only 10 days old who generally don't respond to sounds. Also encouraging, Hannah played the "learning to listen" game with Liz where Hannah picks a special small toys from a drum. The small toy is associated with a sound. A boat is toooot, the cow moooo, a baby doll lalala and wahhhh, a bunny is hop hop hop. After Hannah went through all the small toys, Liz held up two toys, one in each hand, and promoted Hannah with one of the sounds. Hannah's job was to choose the toy associated with the sound. So Liz held the boat (Hannah's favorite) and a doll and Liz said wahhhh. Hannah looked at each one and picked the baby doll. We did this for the remaining four toys, two more times and my girl got it right each time. GO HANNAH!
Even more, Hannah produced her first word: UP! While playing with the spinning Pooh toy, Hannah said UP to indicate she wanted the Poo to pop back up. 
Later on that day and more encouraged, Hannah and I were playing in her room and I made some sounds with some of Hannah's noise makers and Hannah turned to the sound. She's also talking more both with me and when she's by herself.

Enjoying a spring afternoon in the tulips along Park Avenue.

I can't wait for the sounds to keep coming!

Monday, April 2, 2012