Friday, July 31, 2009

Mollys Activation

Hey Sports Fans...we are back and all is well. Molly's activation was just as we expected...small reactions to the sound. She didnt, as Rob dreamed the other night, immediately start speaking to all of us and with a British accent. My husband is crazy! ( or watching too much Family Guy) I video taped both mappings and just edited out a small segment. Because she had some hearing with her aids, we didnt get this HUGE reaction to sound but she did get a little uneasy which is obvious when she looks down and puts her fingers in her mouth. That is about as uncomfortable as she got. The day after we got the implants she cried for about 15 seconds and the next day about 5 seconds. Today...nothing...she is actually excited about wearing them and is anxious to get them on.

We are slowly bumping up the sensitivity...did so today and she didnt blink. She also will turn her head to her Im a little surprised that we got that so soon. I didnt expect to get that for a few more weeks. Anyway... there is a lot more to tell...but who has the time? The boys were scheduled to stay with a sitter who got the swine flu so they came with us. We turned it into a little family vacation which was nice and the boys were actually fairly well behaved...fairly..not perfect.

We will be heading back to birmingham on Monday morning and then Molly has her shots later that afternoon. Big week next week getting ready for the new school year...more to come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So today I moved all the living room furniture into the kitchen and was shampooed  ( when you have three kids...two of them being dirty filthy boys you tend to have to shampoo your carpet quite a bit). Especially when you have found out that your five year old has been assuming he is way to busy to walk allllll the way over the bathroom and thinks that if he pees right where he is standing that no one will notice?  Seriously J?   So during my carpet cleaning adventure ( by the way, I bought a Bissell lightweight deep cleaning carpet cleaner for $80 and I love it) I have already deep cleaned the entire upstairs, my office on the bottom floor and the living room and my carpets look and smell as good as if I had called a professional company.  Just FYI.  As I was saying, while cleaning the living room carpet, I looked up at the clock and it read 3:52pm. My heart immediately skipped a beat. We were less than 24 hours out and I imagined us 24 hours from then sitting with the audiologist as the tested Mollys implants and R and I watched her reaction to least what she got out of it.

Our plan was to leave the boys with one of our favorite sitters, but a huge outbreak of the flu has hit all the teenagers we use since their return from a church youth trip ( including the youth minister) so it appears now as if the boys will be coming with us for the day.  Am I worried? Yes, a little. I really want to be able to focus all my attention on Molly...and not have the distractions of a 7 year old and 5 year old fighting over which Mario DS game they are going to play with first. But seeing as we dont really have any options, we will just have to go with that.

Should be an exciting day! Thanks for all your support on both the blog and facebook. I will do my best to get news posted as soon as we get home tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

two days until the new normal

So it is Monday morning and Molly is strolling around playing with Legos and sticker books, extremely impressed with how her new overalls work.  She has no idea that in two days a small team of very impressive women are going to stick a couple of magnets to her head and she will hear...really hear for what will most likely be the first time in her short little life.  Rob and I continually remind ourselves and others that this isnt the simple case of turning her hearing on like the mute button on the TV, yet I am looking forward to this day with as much excitement and nervousness as I did Gotcha Day ( for those not familiar with adoption slang, Gotcha day is the day that you receive your child...yes, a crude term...but an easy one).    So if  expectations are so low, than why all the excitement? Well, it is the new normal really...and the beginning of the next part of her life...she will be learning to hear....learning to speak and before the implant there was really no hope for her ever doing that.  This entire year has gone so fast... I cant believe it has almost been a year since we first found out about Molly.  We chose that day as her birthday so we will get a chance to celebrate it every year which is the only really benefit to her not knowing her actual birthdate. ( that will continue to drive me crazy for awhile, I suspect).

So as summer break winds down and the boys and Molly for that matter get ready for the new school year we do look forward to what Molly will be able to do and what she will learn in the next few years....excited...and anxious all at once.  I cant wait for her to experience music. That was something she really enjoyed with her minimal hearing and I know she has missed it the past few weeks.  How things are going to change for her. It has been amazing to watch.

Now I have to wrap up my procrastinating for the day... I still want to clean out my office, shampoo the downstairs carpets and I do have some actual work to do.   Back to the real least for now.  Thank goodness for Sunday night hockey and wednesday for that matter. It has been great for stress relief and a nice break from thinking about activation. Rob said it best last night as we were walking down the stairs after checking on the kids.. "We have ourselves a pretty great little family here" And he is right..even with the pointless drama that has tried to infect our lives over the past few months,  it has been easy to write it off and move on with our perfect little family here.   I love our life here!  Now I am off to do something I am really good at....more laundry. Too bad it isnt a sport.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Countdown to activation

So it has been a little over a week and Molly is doing just great. We made the trip up to see the surgeon and get the final OK which we did. More exciting than the fact that she is healing quite nicely is the fact that we got to wash her hair....finally! No scrubbing the sides...but at least we can get that area wet. Molly hasnt complained about the "ouch" behind her ear for quite awhile so we are hopeful that the worst of it is behind us. Rob and I are both in a week long hockey clinic so every night we have been spending two hours on the ice which has really helped time pass as we get closer to her activation day next week. We go in with "high hopes and low expectations" I read that somewhere and that pretty much sums up what we were told to expect. I know there are a lot of followers out there that believe that implants are like flipping a switch ...similar to turning the MUTE button off...but that really isnt the way things work. The brain has to have time to learn HOW to hear and then how to associate that sound with meaning. Molly will do great...she has been through so much that we really think that this will be just one more experience that she has had.

This past Monday we had the opportunity to readopt her and file for her American birth certificate. Because the International Adoption Clinic disagreed with the birthdate that China had assigned to her ( Molly was not left with a note from her birth mother as to what her name or actual birthdate was) we chose a new birthdate for her. We also picked a new middle name as well. Her name was given to her, not by her birth mother which we would have undoubtably kept, but by a random doctor on duty that gave her a physical when she was found. Honestly, we may have even kept that but it is unpronounceable by the western Rob picked a name all by himself and he got to name his little girl...her middle name is MeiLi. Here are some photos of our readoption ceremony. The boys were a little disgruntled about being forced to wear a tie...but we all survived!

  Molly and Daddy

                            The boys are tired, hungry and hate wearing a tie. I dont blame them.

Our attorney and friend. What a terrific guy to take care of this. The judge let the kids sit at his special judges table. Molly didnt seem to appreciate it as much as the boys did.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bouncing Back...

Here we are...and Monday seems like it was months ago really. The blue neoprene strap is now removed from her head so that her incisions can get air I suppose. She doesnt really seem to even k know they are there. She is running around , playing and singing as usual. Mom is a little overly cautious because she clearly is NOT.  As superficial as it seems I was really dreading the "shaved head" part of the process. We have been growing her hair out for 8 months now and really got to the point where we could do a lot of different things  with it.  It actually isnt going to be as bad as I though and should be covered up nicely as the hair that was shaved grows out. I know, who cares about hair?

Next week is her readoption ceremony. I know, bad timing with the surgery and the photo ops at the courthouse. We could have done this through the mail but wanted to involve the boys in the process. We will go down...I suppose the judge will say something...maybe bang a gavel or two..who knows...and Im sure we will sign something and our girl will have a birth certificate from the state of Alabama.  Giddy up.

Today is a rainy day and Im sure the kids will be driving me  crazy in the next few hours. I am moving offices and continuing my attack on the house. I have the kids rooms organized and cleaned out as well as the utility closets and bathrooms. Just the office and dining room left to do. There is nothing quite as satisfying as an organized room. They dont last as long as I would like but it is fun while it lasts. I dont have junk drawers...cant stand it is harder to maintain without one. Who am I kidding. I will need to start the whole thing over by next year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We are home!

Well, we survived our first night and thankfully Molly hasnt been on anything stronger than Motrin. We really didnt want to have to give her the stronger stuff because it makes her really nauseous and the name of the game right now is to get her to eat!  She did finally start eating last night....of course, it was her favorite Ramen. Thank goodness it is so 17 cents a bag, she can have all the ramen she would like.

The entire surgical process could not have gone any better. Of course, with the struggles to get to the actual surgery, Rob and I were really anxious and told each other that we were not going to take anything for granted that day if the surgery was cancelled or if she only got one implant.  We were ready for anything....anything but what we got. A seamless surgery and an incredible stay at this hospital with the best nursing staff I have ever run across ( and with four knee surgeries, and two babies I have spent my fair share of time in a hospital).

We arrived at the hospital at 9am as we were told to and sat in the waiting room for close to an hour before they called us back. They did the preliminaries with Molly...height, weight...blood pressure, etc. The entire time she was so happy...unaware of what she was about to go through. They brought us back to a room and had her change into a gown. Still clueless, Molly was jumping around on the bed and posing for photos with her daddy.

This next part is my favorite part of the story! Rob and I were so nervous about this most parents would be and a lot of it had to do with anesthesia. Sure, people go under all the time. But we know nothing of Mollys history prior to eight months ago and had no way of knowing how she would react to the anesthesia! Without a birth history on her the idea of them putting her to sleep made us a little crazy. Sure wish we would have had a friend in the operating room. Well, a few weeks prior our friend and pastors wife told of us a very dear friend of hers who was actually named after her very own mother who also happened to be an anesthesiologist at this hospital. What are the odds that our doctor was going to be this same woman? Not good...but in walked Dr. B and I asked her if she knew my friend and she did. It was her. Rob and I had a mutual friend, not only in the operating room, but the woman who would be responsible for putting her out! Obviously, Dr. B would have done a tremendous job regardless of whether or not we knew her friend or not, but I am not going to lie and tell you that we didnt both breathe a lot easier knowing she was there in the room for us. ( no pun intended)

Fast forward from the best part to my least favorite part. They wheeled Molly on a gurney down the hall to the a small read tile section and the orderly told us that we couldn't go any further. here we go. Rob leans over and gives her a kiss and I do the same and then I sign to her, Mommy and Daddy Later and she gives me the most confused look I have ever seen. Normally this means that a sitter is coming and mommy and daddy are off to play hockey. But wait! This is different? What do you mean Mommy and Daddy later? We then watched her disappear around the corner and both our hearts sank into our stomachs. I couldn't move my legs for a minute. It was the most terrible feeling.

We headed out of the waiting room and the nurses handed us a pager. It was the kind of pager that lights up like you get at a restaurant when your table is ready. We sulked off to get lunch and spent the entire time trying to guess how Molly was doing, what she was doing, was she scared, was she asleep yet? More than anything we wanted to imagine that she was asleep so that any fears she had were over and they had started. I remember asking Rob at 11:26 if he thought she was asleep yet and he had guessed yes. ( of course, that was just to make me feel better and to keep me from eating my way through the hospital cafeteria,,,they had great food by the way).

We made our way back up to the waiting area and plugged my PC into the wall. Rob, who is not a fan of anything facebook discovered a whole new world and we passed our time trying to concentrate on movie quizzes and updating friends about her surgical status. I dont know how much they appreciated the play by play status updates, but I found it very cathartic to be able to update my facebook everytime we got a call from the operating room.

The first call came about 12:15 where they told us that they had just started. Molly, they said, played quietly while they got everything ready...drew a little and didn't freak out at all. Regardless of whether or not this was the case, I appreciate them saying this anyway. The last thing you want to hear is that your three year old freaked out and clawed out the eyes of the surgeon 10 minutes before they operate. The next few hours our beeper would go off and we would run to the phone and get updates like they were Christmas presents. I actually let Rob take one phone call...but I sure didn't like it! The next update was "We just finished drilling the first hole and are starting on the second one" Okay then... if there was a thing as too much information..this update was it! No one wants to hear that their daughter has someone drilling into their head! This was definitely the longest part of the surgery. It seemed like once this part was done, the implant part went quickly. It took about five hours from once they had her back there. Around 5pm we got the call that we could go see her in recovery.

This is what we found:

Such a stark contrast to how she was a a few hours before with a look on her face like " What in the world did you guys do to me?"  We waited in recovery for about 45 minutes to an hour before we were taken to our room where we would remain until early the next day. This was her expression for the rest of the day and night. She was very quiet ( very unlike the Molly we know at home) and slept most of the time. I slept next to her in a pull out chair and Rob in a pull out sofa clearly intended for a much smaller person! 

The next day she was still drinking/sipping but had no interest in food other than the fruit chews ( a treat at home) that we gave her the night before that she was holding on to like some kind of security blanket.  Her personality resembled the Molly we met in China for the first time - Not the little girl she had become over the past eight months! It was heartbreaking to see this side of her personality..quiet...not a lot of eye smiles at all.  The next day, however, all of that changed. She began playing with some of the toys I brought, was very excited when I painted her nails and added decals. ( ugh..she is a girly girl..dont know what I will do with that?) and began moving around the room again. She even started smiling and talking again. Our girl was back.

We had an easy morning...for the most throwing up episode...a bloody nose that we were told was quite normal after this surgery and her balance was off because she had just had her ears messed with....all things that would work themselves out.  We were home later that day.  Our friend Vickie who had unselfishly agreed to stay with the boys did a phenomenal job and Rob and I came home to a clean house and a home cooked meal!  We were in constant contact with our friends this entire time and truly believe we have the best friends in the worlds. We are so lucky.

Molly tried to sleep on the way home and got a small nap...but was really cranky once we got home. I dont know why but the first hour home was the hardest on her. I dont know if the pain got to her, or what she was expecting...but once she settled down, she started eating again and a few hours later was running around on a big wheel like a few days before.  I was able to get her in the bathtub but had to be very careful not to get the incisions wet.  It will be this way for the next few weeks.  

We head back to the hospital next week for a follow up with the surgeon and then the big day...the implant activation on July 30 and August 1.  I plan on bringing at least one video camera and hope to post this event on my blog.  If you have ever witnessed a cochlear implant activation video, you know they are amazing.  We were told to have high hopes and low expectations...and so we do. We dont expect for Molly to walk out of there saying "Wow..thanks so much for that..It is nice to be able to talk finally".  Molly has a chronological age and a hearing age. Her chronological age is three but her hearing age will start over on July 30 at zero. She will have to go through the same speech and hearing process as  an addition it will take some time for her brain to realize what is happening and relearn all the sounds she thought she knew prior to surgery.  We will be going to a lot of speech therapy  appointments and working a lot at home.   We are all very excited to watch Molly transform over the next year or so.  What an amazing journey this has been!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Almost there...

Just met with the surgeon who told us that she is wrapped up. Two implants and all they really have left to do is get her tested with the audiologist and get her to recovery. We hope to see in an hour or so.

Game On!

It is 12:30pm here and we just got a call from the nurse in the operating room that they just got started about 15 minutes ago. We were kind of surprised because she has been back there since 11:00am but it is definitely understandable. I cant imagine what they have to do in order to get started. Turns out the surgery will run about 5 hours because they are doing both implants... or at least attempt to do both. We will see. You never really know what complications will occur and this entire process has run less than Rob and I are ready for anything. It was hard to watch them wheel her away at the "parents can go no further than this red line" area. I signed to her mommy and daddy later" that we normally give her when she is going to be left with a baby sitter and I wish I would have taken a picture of the confused look on her face. A face that says "this situation Im in does not compute with "mommy and daddy later". What in the world is going on?

So here we sit. waiting. waiting. waiting.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hospital arrival time

Got our call today that we didnt have to be at the hospital until 9am which is great news because now we dont have to go down the night before and be away from the boys for two nights. We have a slew of volunteers helping with the boys and house so it will be a big party for them.  I did get together some activities for Molly to pass the time with once she is feeling better...depending on when that is...I cant imagine she will be feeling too good on Monday.  I plan on bringing my laptop so I can update the blog for those who want to remain plugged in.  

Thanks again for all the support! We have amazing friends!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Today was Molly's last speech appointment before her surgery just a few short days away. We are excited but careful not to be too at ease. With as many headaches as we have encountered getting to this point, we would be foolish to assume that the rest of this journey will be without an incident or two. I just hope that the worst of it is over. I hope that the discussions about money are over and that we can just concentrate on this little girl and her well being. I wish there was a way to explain all of this to Molly...but there just isnt so we have to trust that one day it will all make sense to her. We will be posting updates/ pictures/ video of the next few weeks and we know we are not the only ones interested in the big activation day. Activation day is going to be as nerve racking and exciting as Gotcha Day. Minus the bureaucratic headaches, this process has gone pretty quickly. After all, it was just August 20 of last year that we even knew that Molly exsisted on the planet and less than a year later she is standing here in my living room about to undergo a surgical procedure that will change her life forever. Very exciting stuff!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally sinking in...

well, it was a long day...but all is well in the far.  We are sitting here holding our breath a bit hoping not to encounter anymore curve balls. All set for Monday, I plan on getting Molly to the pool as much as possible this week because it will be awhile before she can go back in again.

The original schedule is back on track and we are exactly where we were just a few days ago. Now all we can do is pray that the procedure goes as planned.  

Back to the real world tomorrow and getting some much needed work done. Hopefully that will be the last time we have to fight this battle.

Thanks again for all the well wishes on facebook.  The details of this ordeal were way to long to post on the blog so if anyone has any questions about what we encountered or what we did to rectify the situation, please feel free to contact me.  

Tricia, I appreciate your call today and will definitely look into that program.

We got approved!

The verdict is in. One surgery. Two implants.

Big thank you for everyones support through this wild goose chase. Tricare may not pay very much but they were actually wonderful to me through this entire process. Very helpful on the phone and even willing to call the hospital to relay policy.  

Looking forward to monday and the beginning of a new life for Molly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Beginning of the beginning...

Well. tomorrow we start. It is our preop appoinmtment in Birmingham with the surgeon who will do the implant surgery. I wish there was a way to explain to Molly what was going on...but in a way it will be easier on her. She is so trusting and adaptable with us that I dont even think she will blink. IT is going to be an amazing process and except for the 843 trips to Birmingham one that am looking forward too. Rob and I love the speech therapist in Birmingham and even though we could technically leave that practice and stay close to home for therapy we think it is worth it to work with her. We are going to actually attempt to work in Birmingham and here with both therapists...add in school three days a week and we will have a busy week.