Becca likes to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” so when I started writing this post this song came to mind. Not much to say about her head (still big, round, bald, and adorably Yoda-esque), shoulders (expect that she has little dimples on the backs of them like her Nanny Hitchcock), knees (um, what is there to say about any knees?), or toes (that she still can’t get to her mouth because her tummy is so big she can’t fold that way), but a few things to mention about the others.
We went to see the pediatric ophthalmologists last Monday, and I was THRILLED to find out that the resident we saw at first, Dr. Armstrong, was actually FAMILIAR WITH SEPTO-OPTIC DYSPLASIA! This was the first doctor I had talked to since we were in the NICU that knew anything about her condition (and even the neonatologists were kind of fuzzy on it – they really don’t see it much!). He said that the most important specialist to follow her would be the endocrinologists (check) because the endocrine symptoms are the most life-threatening. The ophthalmologists will follow her optic nerve issues, but he said that it’s really not important (or worth bothering) to have a neurologist follow her, even though the root of the issue is that she is missing a part of her brain, as it’s a part that, frankly, doesn’t do much of anything. Who knew. (My guess is that it does something, but we just don’t know what yet. I mean, do we really just have excess brain matter, or have we not figured out everything about the brain?) I was glad to finally get some answers on that one.
And more answers I was glad about…Becca’s eyes look GREAT! The concern is that her optic nerves were likely to be misshapen and small, but they appear to be fine (perhaps on the small side, but fine nonetheless). Thus it looks like my constant worry that she was going to suddenly go blind can be set aside! We went from looking at possible deafness and blindness to neither. Hooray! Becca is a little bit near-sighted, but not enough that she needs glasses yet. She will likely need them earlier than most kids, but I can certainly handle that! Virtually every member of both John and my family is near-sighted, with the exception of my brothers, so she was going to be a little 4-eyes eventually. Dr. Morrison (the attending ophthalmologist) also went ahead and checked her for any ROP developments and decided that she is clear there as well, so we were able to cancel our ROP follow-up in April. We’re not totally released from the Eye Institute yet, as she remains at high risk for developing eye problems, but we don’t have to see them again until August. Fabulous!
Becca is now three weeks out from the ear tube placement and we’ve definitely seen a difference. She is LOVING hearing herself, and she makes all kinds of funny noises. She liked to squeal before but now it’s sheer bliss (for her at least). She’s pretty cute when she’s happy and squealy. Sometimes she cracks herself up simply because it’s fun to yell. Unfortunately, though, she got an ear infection last week (even though she hadn’t gotten a single one before the tubes), so we had to start her on some drops. It’s healed up pretty quickly, but I think something’s a-brewing in the other ear now. Good thing we’ve only used a very tiny portion of the drops – they cost $135! Thank you, insurance! We saw Dr. Werkhaven (who placed the tubes) today for her follow-up, and he said that she looked great – even though her ears are so small that neither he nor the nurse practitioner could actually see the tubes. We talked about earplugs, but he was adamant that her ear canals are so small that the chance of actually getting water down in her ears is miniscule. I’m not sure I believe him, but I’ll give it a chance. And I’d like to give a shout out to Bonnye Beeler and Steve Graves, who make sure that we’ve got good, chlorinated water out here in Bethpage. You’re saving my baby’s ears! J While we were at the hospital today, we got to visit briefly with Nancy, the NNP who had Becca for several months, two of our fabulous nurses, and Becca’s miracle worker, Gwen, the speech pathologist who saved Becca from the g-tube and shared with her the pleasure of eating. And you know how much we like eating in the Hill house. It was great to see everyone, and they loved squeezing Becca’s super-chunk thighs.
And onto the mouth…we’ve got major activity here. I’m pretty sure that Becca is working on not 1, not 2, and not 3, but 4 teeth all at once. They haven’t erupted yet, but you can see them through her gums. She’s kind of miserable about it. I would be too, really. In the long run, though, I guess it’s easier to go ahead and get a mouthful at once. But for now, she’s chewing on absolutely everything possible. We’ve tried Baby Oragel, teething tablets, chewing on Zwieback toast, chewing on burp cloths, chewing on fingers, chewing on pacis, chewing on…well, you get the picture. I really think she may pop some of them out before the weekend. Watch out, Grandma and Granddaddy Speas – she might bite you on Saturday! We are very curious about the quality of her teeth, since they mostly form in utero – as in, when Becca wasn’t getting many nutrients. Obviously we can deal with bad teeth, but we’re curious. Regardless, she’s going to be adorable with a mouthful of teeth – she’s awfully small for them!
All I have to say about her nose is that it remains adorably tippy like her sweet father’s nose. She’s such a twin of her daddy, right down to the shape of her head, according to one of her nurses. Of course, we’ve had our share of chuckles about her having her daddy’s haircut as well. As always, I say, “Bald is beautiful!”
Straying from the song, I want to mention two other points of interest. Becca turned 8 months old on Saturday, so today marks the day that she has now lived at home longer than at the hospital. My baby is right where she belongs – at home with us. That makes me so happy. Every now and then I turn to John and say, “Becca is sleeping right down the hall! How cool is that?” I know she needed those 121 days in the hospital, but, boy is it nice to live with her. I think she and I actually make much better roommates that John and I do. She has no problem making a mess, and she never asks me to clean up. J And speaking of my roommate, John turns 29 on Wednesday. I’m going to be a bit sappy for a moment, so please forgive me, but I do want to publicly say just how amazing John Hill is. He’s the sweetest dad possible to Becca. At least one day a week they have “Daddy and Daughter Day,” when I get to go into the office, and they get to hang out at home. I’m only a little bit sad to say that I don’t think Becca even notices I’m gone on those days! She loves her daddy so much – especially his fuzzy beard – and he takes great care of her, not to mention the dogs and the house. Often on such days he has dinner ready on the table for me when I get home. Amazing. If only he didn’t like his job so much, he’s made a great stay at home dad. But he does love his job (most days!), so I’ll take Superdad whenever I can get him. (Just for the record, he’s still fabulous the other days of the week – he just has to squeeze in the whole pastoring thing in the midst of his fabulousness.) I don’t want to perpetuate any myths about marriage being a breeze or perfect or even simple – we definitely have our less than fine moments, especially as we try to “co-pastor” and stay married – but I can definitely say that John makes marriage worth it. Thanks, J-Bug! (Please, everybody make sure you call him that, by the way. He’ll love you for it. )
When Superdad has emptied the camera (or SuperNanny uploads her pictures), I’ll tell you about Becca’s big trek to Ashland to meet her great-grandmothers – so fun!