Friday, December 31, 2010

The Nat'ster - 9 Months

We have hit that really fun, I love having a baby phase. Ok.. we always love having a baby, but 9 months is always a fave. But, I must say, I can see some boredom with Natalie. While she doesn’t know any different, and she is certainly calm and patient with all of us, I can see a big difference in the way she acts and reacts compared to kid 1 and kid 2. 

Obviously this would be such a fun age for her to explore lots of various sounds, things that light up, shake, make music when you accidentally bump into them. A lot of that goes unnoticed because of her hearing loss. 

Again, she doesn’t know any different so it is no big deal for her; mainly me. Which is why we are so very excited for the technology of hearing with cochlear implants and giving her the gift of hearing which is so important. I am so excited to see the joy and excitement it brings into her life. It will start of gradual, but we will make milestones this year.... so very excited.

At 9 months, Natalie is crawling all over the place. I don’t remember the exact day (I will have to look back) but somewhere between 8-9 months she decided to give it a whirl. She goes everywhere now, and has started pulling up to her knees too. Since most of her toys are no fun for her, crawling and exploring have become her 2 favorite things. I am sure once she masters pulling herself up and cruising, she will love it. She loves to crawl to the fireplace and see her reflection in the fireplace door. 

Natalie also got tubes in her ears this month prior to her CI surgery. She had fluid in the left ear and tubes were necessary or we wouldn’t be able to get her implants. She did great though!

She has 2 bottom teeth she has had for about 6 weeks and loves to show them off when the camera is around. She is so cute for the camera, always doing such a big “cheese” and seems to know exactly what I am doing when I pull the camera out.

This is some pictures with Nat’s audiologist up in Chapel Hill. They love her to pieces. Since she won’t be wearing hearing aids anymore, we will have a new team of audiologists that just do cochlear implant kids. We will miss Pat so much!

Miss Natalie’s 9 month Stats:

18 lb., 10 oz. (38%)
??? inches (can’ t find my sheet)

Natalie loves to eat, but is not a fan of anything chunky yet including puffs. She is content to just stick on the baby food for a while. But she does eat a nice variety and we are ok with that. 


Such darling pics!!!!   Thanks for sharing!  Can't wait to see her in person in a few weeks!
Friday, December 31, 2010 - 11:15 PM
I can't believe you had a white Christmas!!!!!  So fun!  Where did you find the sled?  They don't sell those things in Charlotte.  Natalie is super adorable and I love that cheeser grin.  Best of luck in the next couple of days!
Monday, January 3, 2011 - 08:12 PM
Shelley Kay
Nat has such a pretty smile! I love it! I can't wait to see all the new exciting things your family goes through this year!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 11:15 AM
What a doll! Brad said she has grown a lot.  She is absolutely beautiful and has the best grin! Love it!  What an exciting year this will be for her..and you too! :)
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 12:34 AM

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Surgery Date!!!

We finally have a surgery date for Natalie’s Cochlear Implant surgery...JANUARY 4, 2011. Which means... 3-4 weeks post surgery she will be able to hear for the very first time. Very exciting!

So, what is a cochlear implant? I think sometimes I get so used to telling people she is having one done, I just expect everyone to understand what they are. Or, sometimes she will be wearing her hearing aids and people think those are the implants. Here are a few pictures to describe a little about what a CI is.

In surgery, they will place an implant under the skin behind her ear (see diagram - implant is the gray square labelled #2). The implant has a tiny tube with different electrodes that will be threaded into the cochlea and bypass the hair cells that are not working  (hair cells are what help us hear). It will then connect to the cochlear nerve.

We get to choose from 3 different companies which implant we wanted and we chose the brand Cochlear. You can check them out here. There are also some cute accessories that she can wear with them.

This is a picture of the actual implant. I am still amazed how big it is and how small Natalie is. This is the thinnest one out there right now. The magnet is the grey circle piece. If she were to need an MRI down the road, the magnet would have to be surgically removed prior to the MRI. The square piece is the computerized piece. From what we are told, she may need 2-3 surgeries over her life to revise the implant.

3-4 weeks post surgery is when we will “turn on” the device and she can hear. She will wear this processor on the external part of her ear and the coil transmitter (the round part) “connects” with a magnet to the implant and will send information to the implant via radio frequency.  There are many ways to wear the outer piece, but this is the most traditional including a rechargeable battery pack which is nice(also.. many colors to choose from; we will probably go with a neutral color.)
 Here is an example of what it will look like once it is on. (picture taken from internet) Once she gets more hair, it will help cover it better.

Natalie has had several hearing tests done with her hearing aids and is not making any progress. We knew since about 6 weeks that she had severe/profound hearing loss but we didn’t know how profound. The tests have shown us that a cochlear implant is the way to go in order for her to hear and we know now that hearing aids are not helping her. I previously posted about Natalie’s hearing loss and the audiogram so you can read here about them. We will get very used to audiograms once she gets activated.

We have a great team of audiologists and a wonderful doctor who meet  every Friday to discuss CI (cochlear implant) patients. After reviewing Natalie’s audiograms they recommended doing a bilateral simultaneous surgery. In a lot of cases, the doctor will do surgery on one ear and then wait about 6 months later to do the 2nd side. There are pros and cons to each, but we have decided to go ahead with their recommendation. The surgery will be longer, but we are thankful she will only have to have it done the one time.

In the meantime, we will continue to use hearing aids on her until her surgery date. She may be getting some acoustic signal that we are not aware of and any stimulation to the cochlear nerve is important. Plus, she needs to get used to having something on her ears as well. But, there are many times we like to play and cuddle without the aids on... and that is ok too!


melanie herway
SO exciting!!!  That'll be here before you know it!  (Thanks to the busyness of the holidays :)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 10:44 AM
Melissa - you sound like a doctor yourself with all of your knowledge.  I really appreciated this so I can better explain what a cochlear implant is to other people (especially Grandma Aubert).  the picture of Natalie is one of my many favorites.
Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 09:33 AM

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Natalie Paige - 6 Months

We have made it half a year with 3 kids so far... ha ha. Busy times... busy times. 

Every age is so much fun, but 6 months is great. Natalie is now sitting up pretty good. She still falls back quite a bit, but every day she gets better and better. If she falls forward, she immediately puts her hand down and gets into a crawling position. She is not crawling yet, but is very eager to still. She will lay on her tummy and just kick, kick, kick... this girl wants to go. She can turn in a full circle on her tummy. 

We started solid foods a few weeks back. It took a few days until she was super interested, but now she really likes them. So far, she really likes carrots and sweet potatoes. Next week we will introduce some green stuff and see what she thinks of that.

Natalie isn’t the best napper. Cat naps more like it. I hope they start getting a little better because she needs better sleep. She WAS sleeping good at night but likes to have a party about 4 am everyday. I haven’t been as good about sleep training as I did the other 2. I want her to be on a better schedule, but being the 3rd kid makes it hard. For the most part, she takes 2 naps, sometimes 3 a day. I wish she just had an exact wake-up time. Would be helpful for me so I could plan my mornings a little better.

Natalie is strong. Very strong. When you hold her, she holds herself up extremely well. When I change her diaper as she is laying down, if she sees something behind her, she will scoot on her back away from me. She loves to roll both ways and I always find her in interesting places from where I put her.

Her hair is coming in dark. I am excited to have a brunette! 

This age is also bittersweet. Sweet - because Natalie is fun, the kids adore her, she is loving life and is just so darn  cute. She has the sweetest personality. Bitter - because there are SO many toys and things around her that I know she would just love and be so much more interested in if she could just  hear. It breaks my heart everyday that she can’t hear a toy and its music, or a toy dog barking or a cow mooing. The things I always took for granted with my other kids. Plus, we are in limbo right now til she gets her implants. She does not hear anything with her hearing aids and the earliest she will get her first implant isn’t til January when she will be 10 months and it won’t even be activated until 3 weeks after the surgery. So, probably around 11 months, her hearing age will b e 0 and that is when we play catch up with sounds and speech therapy. I am very eager to get her hearing. 

6 month Stats:

17.3 lbs. (75%)
26.5 inches (75%)

Pictures can be viewed here of her 6 month portraits. Here are just a few:


She is soooooooo pretty!
Sunday, October 3, 2010 - 06:13 PM
Wow! She is getting so big. She is adorable.
Sunday, October 3, 2010 - 11:57 PM
Those pics are so cute!  I love the one in the tutu with the necklace.  It's fun to see her chunky rolls!  And I love that you got the pictures with her hearing aids.  She is so darling and so strong!
Monday, October 4, 2010 - 06:49 PM
Shelley Kay
You are so good at getting your kids pictures taken. It's nice seeing them at their different stages in life. She is so BIG and so BEAUTIFUL. She's making Ayla look small now! :)
Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 11:09 AM
Jody Hogan
She is soooo cute. I also love the 6 months stage. They are wanting to move around, but can't destroy the house yet.  Excited for her implants. I have a girl in my ward that I am really good friends with that got them when she was little and now she is 18, just left for college. They are amazing.

By the way, we live in Pocatello, well actually Chubbuck. Not sure how long that will last as my husband just got moved from being based in Salt Lake to being based in Denver. We will see what happens, maybe we will stay or maybe not.
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 12:18 PM
You always get such great pictures!  I need to get Katelyn's done, and Rachel's too (for her 5 year) and I don't know where to go here.
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 01:51 PM

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Booth Testing

This past Monday I took Natalie up to Chapel Hill for her first hearing test with amplification. We weren’t sure what to expect. The best testing for babies is between 6-9 months of age and it is all behavioral testing. 

We started off with what is called a bone conduction test. This is a conditioning test to see if Natalie is old enough and understands how to do the actual hearing test .They put a headband type thing (shown below) over Natalie’s head. There is a black piece behind her right ear that when sound is presented, it will vibrate all the bones in the skull. Everytime the sound came through and vibrated behind her ear, they trained Natalie to turn her head and then she was rewarded with lights and toy animals that moved. (in the 4 black boxes.) The audiologist was impressed with how well she did since she is just 6 months. Natalie is a very alert and smart baby.

Since she was able to do that test, we moved on to the real hearing test. They then put her molds back in her ear and hooked her up to amplification and proceeded to do the same testing, this time with sound. When Natalie was first diagnosed with hearing loss, she was put into the severe/profound category, because they tested her up to 90 decibels and Natalie could not hear at that level.  Pat, our audiologist, would sit on the other side of the window from us and a graduate student was in the booth with Natalie and I distracting Natalie with toys so if she heard something, she would then turn her head toward the sound and again see the lights and animals. Natalie would not turn her head to any sound, but when the bone conduction was placed back on and done simultaneously with the sound, she would turn her head to the vibration. 

They tested her up to 110 decibels which is really loud (normal hearing is between 0-25 decibels) and we still did not see any responses and we know how she was reacting from the bone conduction test, that she was aware of the vibration, and if she heard 110 decibels, she would have turned her head as well. It just helps us move more quickly to get the cochlear implant. 

I was able to talk with our ENT as well that day and discussed Natalie’s time table to get her first implant. We are thinking age 10 months which would be in January. I have an appointment in Durham next month with the cochlear implant team and then another booth testing in Chapel Hill in November. Our audiologist in Chapel Hill has been awesome, but she just works with diagnosing and babies/children with hearing aids. If a child needs an implant, they transition over to the implant team in Durham (these audiologists are trained to just work with children that have cochlear implants) when they are getting ready for their implant. I will be so sad to leave Chapel Hill and will for sure drop in on them and say hi whenever we have ENT appointments since they are in the same office, but we are excited to move forward. So, hopefully by our October visit, we will “pencil in” a surgery date. I can’t wait to get that on my calendar!

We were lucky to have Nana come for a quick visit and to help watch the other kids while I went to Chapel Hill. Here they are, all dolled up before church.


Shelley Kay
That's great news that Natalie may get her implants in January. And I love the picture with all the kids and Nana.... Dylan's smile is hilarious. He almost looks a little mischievous.  :)
Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 10:04 AM
I wish I was still there!  I miss you and Tim and my absolutely adorable grandchildren!  They are all so smart and gorgeous.  Tell them Nana loves them.
Sunday, October 10, 2010 - 08:55 AM

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where did the time go?

Natalie is coming up on 6 months. Half a year. It makes me so sad that she is getting so big so quickly. We are getting into a fun stage with her though and the bigger she gets, the kids love her just that much more!
We have been able to try out the swings at the park

I am so thankful that she is mine! :)

Trying out the baby food thing

Loving all the ways we can bend out chunky body

Spending time with the Big Kids

And lots and lots of speech therapy


Shelley Kay
Natalie is seriously such a beautiful little girl. I can't believe she is 6 months old already!
Monday, September 6, 2010 - 10:09 AM
Kelli J
I really cannot believe our baby girls are almost 6 months old. I need time to slow down! I want my baby girl around a while longer. Natalie is just so stinking cute! Thanks for calling the other day, it was so nice talking with you. Love you!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 01:58 PM
What?!  6 months?!?!?!  I don't believe it.  She sure is beautiful.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 05:15 PM
Time sure is flying by!  She is a cutie!  (well, they all are!!!!)
Friday, September 10, 2010 - 06:38 PM
What a little beauty.  Don't let her grow up to fast!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 09:20 PM

Premade Design by Delicious Design Studio