McKinley can HEAR! Thank you Jesus!
It has almost been a year since we learned about McKinley's omphalocele diagnosis. I have learned ALOT during that year. Learned alot about myself, my family, and God's grace and healing powers. One thing that I have learned, that although I know God is completely in control of my daughter's life.. it does not make big doctors appointments easy for me. Sure, this appointment was not deciding whether or not my daughter was going to live, like some of our other appointments. But this appointment was going to dictate what McKinley's future was going to look like.
We knew that McKinley for sure could not hear from her right ear. We knew that she did not have an ear canal. But it was the left ear that was in question. She passed the hearing test in the hospital, but evidently there can be false positives. Our doctor wanted to make sure, that McKinley, could in fact hear.
I had spent alot of time before her appointment praying that I would trust. And I wouldnt stress. That I would feel 100% peace. Let me say, if we had found out that our daughter was deaf.. it would change nothing. She would still be absolutely perfect.. our future would just look different.
I woke up and felt pretty good about the appointment. I dressed McKinley in a super cute outfit (I always had heard in college, if you dressed nice on days of your tests, you would perform better. :)) It was worth a try. :)
We got to the appointment and first had her hearing tests. It is really amazing what they do. I was kind of expecting for them to do a hearing test on her like they do on the newborns in the hospital. Thats not the case. :) At first, McKinley and I entered this big sound box- it kind of looked like a big vault. McKinley had to sit in my lap and I could not react to the sound. The lady stood in front of a window and had a puppet for McKinley to look at, and then she would start saying her name. If McKinley would turn her head towards the speakers, this freaky looking clown would light up (as her reward). She said her name in all different pitches to see what McKinley would respond to. Then she would just play different noises (waaaaaaaaa type noises), and again, if McKinley would turn to the speakers, she would get to see the clown again.
McKinley did so good. She did not fight just sitting on my lap, the entire time. And she responded often. When we were out of the box, the lady explained to me that McKinley responded to the voices and not as much to the sounds. But that was right where she should be for her age.
At that moment, I was relieved.
Then we went to the lady's office and she put a microphone in McKinley's ear and hooked her up to a computer. She explained the test to me like this: its like if you played two different keys on the piano, you dont hear the two keys separately, you hear a third key. We are testing to see if she can pick out the third key, or if her brain picks out on the the 2 keys. This test took a bit longer, and McKinley got more fidgety. The microphone kept falling out of her ear, etc. But from this test, we learned that McKinley did great picking out the high pitches, but not the low ones. So that would equate to, she could hear the consonants but not the vowels. She said this often happened because of the middle ear not being developed all the way.
At that moment, I was starting to get a bit discouraged.
So, we left that side of the building and went to meet Dr. Berryhill. He looked at the results of McKinley's tests and immediately said, "she may have some fluid in her ear". So, he tried to look in her ear, well evidently she had so much wax, he couldnt see. So, we had to clean out her ear. I had to lay flat back on a chair, with McKinley on her back on my chest. The PA had to hold her head and I had to hold her arms. Ok. For those of you that have read this blog for the duration of McKinley's journey.. you know her little attitude she showed while in the NICU.. she displayed this same attitude while getting her ears cleaned. She was LIVID. The PA kept saying.."wow.. she sure gets red!" The entire office heard her. I am telling you, she was mad. All I could do, was kind of giggle and say "you are ok, sweet girl".
Her ears got cleaned. And he was able to see into her ear. I cant remember the medical word he used to describe it, but basically its like, if we are in an airplane and can't pop our ears, thats what McKinley was feeling. Could be the beginning of her first ear infection. But, that is why she was not hearing the low tones! YAY! Not yay for the ear infection, but yay that the middle ear seems to be developed correctly.
I was able to ask more intelligent questions this time around because I was not so overwhelmed. Our pediatrician had asked, if it is possible for her to get an ear infection in her right ear.. which it is. And I was able to clarify a comment I heard him say in our first meeting, "we know she doesnt have an ear canal". I was thinking, "no, I dont really know that" but I had agreed with him because again, I was 100% overwhelmed. What he had meant was the external canal is not there, we DO know that. He also showed me a picture of an ear, and in normal cases like McKinley's if the external canal is missing, normally the bones behind are also abnormal. But probably all the workings are there and developed. We will know more when she is 4 or 5 and we do a CT scan.
So until then, we will continue going every 6 months to do hearing tests. Just to make sure everything is doing well.
We left to every office employee coming out to meet McKinley because they heard her incredible cries. McKinley was sleepy. I was relieved. Yet, felt like I had been hit by a bus. Thats the best way to describe how I feel after McKinley's appointments. Its a helpless feeling as a parent, to know that medically, your child is not perfect and you want to fix it and fix it now. And thats just not always an option.
We will have decisions to make later on regarding McKinley's ear...but it is YEARS down the road.. and I am really thankful. I dont know that I am ready to make those decisions yet.
Thanks for praying for our little fighter. We are so proud of her.
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