Hannah’s Ear Tube Surgery

It’s been a little over two weeks since Hannah’s ear tube surgery and I feel pretty bad for not writing about it yet.

We knew from the sedated echo that Hannah would handle the “nothing after midnight” fast pretty well. I gave her a late bottle the night before and she had no problem skipping her morning one. We were told to check in by 7:10 but arrived about fifteen minutes early and re-lived the morning of her heart surgery. We went up to the same suite to check in, answered the same questions, signed the same forms, and were escorted to the same pre-op area.

At this point I was trying not to let my nerves get to me but it’s so damn hard when you’re waiting for nearly two hours and are asked the same questions by a dozen different people. Of course everyone there is extra nice but the rotation of nurses, residents, and doctors was tiresome and created a long build-up to the main event. Finally we talked to the anesthesiologist, who said she saw Hannah’s latest cardiology report and didn’t expect there to be any heart related issues while Hannah was out. We were given a mask for Hannah to play with so she’d be more comfortable with it. I understand they meant well but thirty minutes of make believe with a gas mask doesn’t do much for an 18 month old.

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Once everyone was ready for us the next step happened in a blink of an eye. I put on a paper robe and gloves, carried her into the operating, and plopped her on the bed. We were swarmed by people, hands all over Hannah, then the gas mask held to her head. I wish someone would have warned me that I would be watching someone suffocate my child. There was a nurse standing behind me explaining that the eye rolling was “normal,” the desperately trying to pull away was “normal,” and the stranger holding the mask tighter was “normal.” I was escorted from the OR before Hannah’s eyes close but was assured she was asleep. That moment was only slightly less terrifying then when Hannah woke up after her OHS and was still intubated.

The nurse walked Pete and I to the waiting room, where we snacked on free graham crackers and texted the grandparents. Just as I was making a cup of coffee the ENT came out and brought us to one of the little rooms across the hall to update us on the surgery. It was quite a production for good news. Pete and I are fairly certain we were given updates on Hannah during her OHS in the middle of the full waiting room. Anyway, they were able to get the tubes in her teensy ears and suck out the fluid. Audiology was already conducting the hearing test and the anesthesia was weaned back just enough to keep Hannah in a deep sleep.

An hour or so later the audiologist came out, brought us to the same meeting room, and said Hannah’s test was very good but still missing the lowest sound on one side. The results were much better than her last behavioral hearing test, very slightly worse than her last BAER test, but still nothing to be concerned about.

We were finally reunited with a very sad little girl who had to be bounced or patted to stay calm. Once she started to wake up we offered her a bottle of watered down apple juice and were astonished that she chugged a few ounces. Thank goodness because the sleeping gas gave her the foulest breath and the juice helped wash it away. I was surprised how quickly we were discharged but it was clearly a sign that Hannah was recovering well. Pete and I celebrated with lunch at Qdoba while Hannah continued napping. Her recovery at home was similar to that of the sedated echo – small meals, a long nap, and a very late bedtime.

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I haven’t noticed much of a difference in her hearing. She still hates the rare occasions that Gamy barks and cried when I used the hand vacuum. We always knew she could hear soft or distance noises but the issue was more about how muffled the sounds were. Hopefully the world sounds clear to her now…except for my awful singing voice.

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Doctor, doctor give me the news

Hannah’s birthday was sandwiched between three doctors appointments.

Friday afternoon she had her first non-BAER hearing test, which ended up being a total bust. There was someone sitting in the room with us to monitor Hannah’s facial reactions to the sounds but Hannah was more interested in that woman than she was to any of the noises. After the test, the audiologist confirmed that there’s still fluid in both of Hannah’s ear. Once again she referred us to the ENT and said the end result will be tubes if the fluid doesn’t clear up. We also had to make a quick stop at the lab for blood tests. The phlebotomist surprised me by finding a vein quickly and not making Hannah cry to hard, then he was in such a rush to get us out of the room that he left the rubber tourniquet tucked into Hannah’s sleeve and almost forgot to tape the gauze on her arm.

Monday night after work Hannah had her big 12 month pediatrician checkup. I made sure to take lots of notes because I knew I wouldn’t remember everything. Here are some of the highlights:

Length 28 3/4”

Weight 18 lb 6 oz

Head circumference 17 1/2”

The main topic was Hannah’s eating and weight gain plateau. I take full responsibility for the delay in getting Hannah to eat thicker foods because it was too scary watching her gag over a puff or piece of mushy bread. Our pediatrician wants to transition Hannah to 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and have her off formula and bottles by 15 months. We’ll start giving her whole milk in a sippy cup and try foods like pastina, eggs, and fruits/veggies steamed at home. The Dr. even suggested mixing olive oil and butter into the food to increase her calorie intake.

The fun part of the focus on eating will be getting Hannah to feed herself. Since she’s completely against holding her own bottle I thought it would be hard to get her interested in holding the spoon. Turns out she loves to feed herself…then throw the spoon on the floor and cheer for herself. We’re also supposed to put food on the highchair tray and let Hannah play with it, with the goal of some of it ending up in her mouth.

Tuesday morning was another follow up with the ENT. Hannah’s ear infection cleared up but could possibly be the reason for the fluid in her ears. Thankfully she said we can give Hannah through the Spring to see if the fluid disappears before making the decision for tubes.

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A Visit to the ENT

Holy writer’s block, Batman! Over the last two weeks I’ve tried to force myself and inspire myself to write but to no avail. The only thing I could ever think of was how much I miss Hannah lately when I’m not with her. For example, on Sunday I went shopping for decorations for her birthday party and almost started crying in the middle of Target. I did manage to write one thing last week but it was a pity party about how I sometimes hate being a working mom, don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, and would like someone to pay me to snuggle with Hannah and take her on field trips. Not an inspiring tale.

Anyway, Hannah has been as adorable and perfect as ever lately. She had her 9 month check-up last week and the pediatrician finally recommended we see an ENT for the chronic congestion. After all the sick visits we’ve had when that poor girl could barely breathe…

According to the ENT, Hannah’s nasal passages are very small and not allowing for easy drainage. She didn’t want to do a scope because she didn’t think she’d be able to see anything with all the congestion and didn’t think it was fair to do to Hannah after having surgery a few months ago. There’s also some fluid in her ears that could be a concern in a few months if it doesn’t drain (because it could cause hearing/speech issues). The Dr agreed with the pediatrician that there’s no reason to give Hannah antibiotics that won’t do anything for a cold.

The Dr’s recommendation is to give Hannah saline drops multiple times a day, have a follow up appointment and hearing test in a few months, and talk to the pediatrician about having Hannah’s immunity checked. Unfortunately there’s not much else we can do except take Hannah out of daycare and put her in a bubble.

The best part of the appointment was that we had 10 minutes to spare so I brought Hannah into work real quick. Her last visit was in October when she was starting to hold herself up while sitting. This time I was able to plop her on my desk so she could see all of my coworkers. This girl is such a ham sometimes!

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