Monday, February 21, 2011

Here we are, six weeks later...

Sophie was activated exactly six weeks ago today! It's hard to believe that it was such a short time ago, because I feel like she has shown an incredible amount of progress. We have gone from being elated when witnessing Sophie turn to our voices to now expecting her to turn to softest sound or whisper. It's a good feeling!

Sophie hasn't spoken her first word yet, but we have been told not to expect that for several months. Right now, is "listening time". Her receptive language, on the other hand, has really exploded. Below is a list of words that Sophie knows:

doggy
ball
Mommy
Daddy
kitty
sock
baby
rattle
kiss
up
hi/bye

I'm sure she understands more, but these are the words that have been "tested" repetitively and I am 100% certain that she comprehends them. She also claps her hands together when we say, "Yay!", which is also very cool. We were told to expect Sophie to understand approximately 25 words by 6-9 months after activation. I think she has a pretty great start and we are extremely proud of her. Of course, I am anxious for her to start talking, but I have to remember that she is only 10 months old! Slow down, Mom - most hearing babies are still just babbling. ;)

Below is a short video of Sophie and her daddy reading How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats?:

video

It's a little hard to see, but there are a mix of dinosaurs and cats on the pages and Sophie was picking out the "kitty" on each page. She was right on!

We are truly watching a miracle unfold before us and we are forever indebted to the inventor of the cochlear implant. Professor Graeme Clark, thank you - you have my eternal gratitude!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just one of those days...

Have you ever had a day where nothing really went terribly wrong, but little things just piled up and you just felt defeated by the end? That was my day yesterday. Just a bad day, I guess.

My husband emailed me yesterday morning to tell me that one of Sophie's CIs wasn't working. Her babysitter had called mid-morning to tell him about the problem. After troubleshooting, her CI still wasn't working, so I figured she was just going to have to make it through the day with one ear. (Jared was going to try to leave his office in the afternoon to fix the problem, but never got a chance to.)

In the midst of all of this, I spent my lunch break hurriedly making half a dozen phone calls to find a genetic counselor that is covered by our insurance. (Have I mentioned that the people at Anthem know me by name?)  I *think* I may have found one, but neither Anthem or the doctor's office could guarantee that our visit will be covered.  "It all depends on how the claim is submitted." Nice. Plus, this geneticist lives out of state and only comes to St. Louis once a month. Therefore, we are looking at an appointment in late spring/early summer. Oh well, at least that ball is rolling.

Now comes the worst part of my day. I picked Sophie up at the babysitter's house and she was not wearing her other CI. Both were off and had basically been off all day long! WHAT?! I was pretty much livid and could hardly hold back tears as I put Sophie in the car. Our babysitter said that she was having problems with the other CI and that she took it off shortly after she spoke with Jared. If I would have known this, I would have left work immediately. I was just so upset that Sophie went without sound for almost eight hours straight. I guess it's my own fault for not calling and checking in with her, but I just figured there would be no problems with the other CI.

I should mention that we absolutely love Sophie's babysitter and she has been doing a great job with everything so far. She was a trooper with her hearing aids and has been doing a great job with the CIs. She loves Sophie and also wants what is best for her. I just don't understand what happened yesterday because one of Sophie's CIs was working fine when we got home. Of course, I started to freak out a bit and think that maybe Sophie is never wearing her CIs during the day. How would we know? I started to feel like I was failing her by working full-time and having someone else take care of her all day long. One thing just kept leading to another and I had all these frustrating thoughts going through my head.

No matter how well Sophie is doing, sometimes the reality of her hearing loss comes to a head and feels like a slap in the face. And I know these days will happen, it is inevitable.

I feel better today. I had a nice talk with Sophie's babysitter (she initiated, I didn't even have to) and I feel reassured. She understands that Sophie's CIs are a part of her and are the very key to her success. She also convinced me that they are on all of the time except when napping. I think yesterday was just a fluke and will hopefully not happen again.

On a positive note, the weather was absolutely beautiful today in St. Louis. 70 degrees and sunny! Quite the change considering we still had several inches of snow and ice on the ground a few days ago. Sophie and I went for a nice long walk when we got home today. It was the first time we have been outside for more than a trip to the car since she has been "hearing". She kept pointing to all of the dogs that were barking (at Ollie) as we passed by. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ball!

We have been working really hard this past week on new words and phrases and I have another awesome moment to share! Check it out:

video

I'm so proud of Sophie! She continues to amaze me every day. My first word as a baby was "ball", so it would be pretty neat if that were hers as well. However, I'm sure I will be equally elated with "Mommy"! ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My first "A-HA!" moment!

And boy did I deserve it after the last week and a half that we have had! It has been a little rough in our house lately. Illness. Yes, again. :( Sophie came down with RSV and an ear infection early last week and has slowly been getting better. Jared and I must have caught the nasty little virus from her and are still at war with it. Seriously, I have never been sick so often before in my life! I'm just hoping that everyone gets back to 100% soon and stays there for awhile!

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. It has been three weeks now since activation and Sophie is doing wonderfully. She is responding to sounds and speech and is much more aware of her environment. As I have stated before, I narrate and label everything to her. In the past week or so, we have really focused on the word "doggy". We have a pet Maltese named Ollie and Sophie absolutely loves him. Great language opportunity, right?! In the past few days, when I say "dogg-eee", I have noticed Sophie look around for Ollie and start to crawl towards him if he is near. Of course, me being the skeptical realist that I am, this was not enough to prove that she actually understood what "doggy" meant. I have to continue to experiment until I am absolutely certain! ;)

Today, two amazing things happened to make me a believer. This morning, Sophie was in her high chair and we were eating breakfast. In between bites and me saying "open" and "mmm...oatmeal", I snuck in a "dogg-eee...?". Sophie instantly froze and looked all around. Then she leaned over each side of her high chair to look for Ollie (where he usually hangs out waiting for food to drop). I swear, it was as though I could hear the music and see the rays of light shining down from above! She understands! This is actually working! Then, as if that wasn't enough, I continued to "test" her. Several hours later we were playing in the living room and I said, "dogg-eee?". She stopped playing and actually POINTED to Ollie, who was lounging by the couch. Pointed to the doggy! How's that for receptive language, boys and girls?!

I tested my luck and tried to capture it on video. This is what I got:

video

Pretty amazing if you ask me!

Today was definitely my first "A-HA!" moment and I'm confident that it will be the first of many. I am seeing results and indications that this hard work is paying off. My deaf baby is showing me that she understands spoken language! And while I may still feel pretty sick and crummy right now, I feel more emotionally free than I have in a very long time.