George Have Blog

Its hard to be a baby

Ear Tubes!

Yesterday, George had his first surgery to have ear tubes placed. I was VERY nervous, but George was incredible. He hardly cried, was so agreeable and was back to himself by the time we got home!

We woke at 5am to get ready and left at 5:45am to head up to the Kaiser ambulatory surgical center in Gaithersburg. We took George straight to the car in his PJs. He was awake, but groggy for the ride. We arrived at 6:30am and checked in. Everyone was very nice to all of us. They brought George a warm blanket and all the nurses and doctors (not just his) had to stop by and say hello.

George did great, but wanted to nurse. He’s always been able to nurse on demand, so he wasn’t too happy. I held it together really well for all that part. I asked my questions, expressed my concerns and was playful with George. I didn’t want him to see me upset and get scared. Then, it came time to take him back. It was hard to decide who would take him back, but in the end I felt I should do it. I think Clay was a little bummed, but because I was so worried he let me do what I needed to do. He is awesome like that (thanks, hun).

I got my booties, robe and hat on and carried him back to the OR. The staff was so sweet. I laid him on the warm blanket and he was so content. He was pointing at all the bright lights, clapping and talking to all the drs and nurses. He even let them put all the monitors on his fingers and belly. They were all amazed at how easy-going he is!

Finally, she put the mask over his little face. We all (really–everyone) sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as he went to sleep. He looked me right in the eyes the entire time. I told him that mommy loved him SO much. I was sobbing and very scared at that point. They said he was out and I kissed him on the forehead and left. The anesthesiologist gave me a hug and reassured me on the way out.

As predicted, it was the longest 20 minutes of my life. I was really upset at first, but Clay talked me through my anxiety and had me take deep calming breaths. He was fantastic and a great partner, as usual!

After about 20 min, the dr came and got me and told me that the surgery was a success. She said the fluid in his right ear was like glue and both of his ears were really, really full of fluid. She said there was no way it was coming out without the surgery. It felt good to know we made the right decision.

I heard him crying as she was talking to me and the nurse said I could go back, he had just started to wake. I ran (literally) and took him from the nurse and immediately nursed him. He calmed down right away and nursed for about 45 min in recovery. He was in a good mood in no time. Clay went and got the ear drops at the pharmacy downstairs and came back up to us. Then we got him dressed and went home.

George fell asleep in the car on the way, then finished his nap at home with no problems. After his nap he was totally normal. Amazing!

I was SO impressed with the Kaiser team. Everyone was competent and had great bedside manners. It was quick and efficient, no waiting around or confusion. The pharmacy was right downstairs so we didn’t have to make a special trip. All in all, it was a good experience (for surgery, anyway).

And the best part…George gets to feel and hear better!

Here he is in his little surgery outfit. So cute.



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At 9 months, we took George to the audiologist and he had a perfect hearing screen. He did great and we thought we were done with the whole thing.

George in bucket

Sadly, we went back for a follow-up at 12 months and he showed moderate conductive hearing loss again. They checked his little ears and they were filled with fluid…again.

The doctors and audiologists are concerned about language development so have recommended that George get tubes in his ears. We think we will do this on January 16th, but are doing some research.

I am not thrilled about because of the anesthesia. “Not thrilled” is an understatement. I’m freaking out. But, after some research and medical journal reading, it seems that its actually very safe. The drive to the hospital is more dangerous. The risk is scary, but is probably worth it since it will help George learn and be more comfortable.

They said he will only be gone for about 20 minutes. I think that would be the longest 20 minutes of my life.


Hearing Update!

Great news: George does NOT need tubes in his ears!

(I don’t have any related pics, so enjoy the randomness)

On June 8th, we went to the audiologist to do a team booth test. George kicked butt. Its called a team test because on audiologist sits in front of George to watch his response and show him toys as rewards. The other sits behind the glass and runs the sound program.

They had to run the program for older babies with random intervals of sounds because he was anticipating sounds when played at regular intervals. Most babies his age don’t do that. Yeah, so smart. (Clay told me not to put that on here…but sorry–mama’s gotta brag).

He did really well with the test and showed that he can hear normal voice level. VERY important. He still showed a little deficiency in the higher and lower ranges. After the booth test, they did the ear drum test. It showed negative pressure. This indicates that the fluid is GONE. Yay. But, the fluid left a vacuum in there, which can impede hearing in those far ranges. The two test results line up, so we know he is getting better and better.

He goes back in two months and hopefully he will be hearing totally normally! He is hitting all his language milestones so far–babbling baba, gaga and mama. Clay is greatly anticipating dada.

I’m just so relieved he doesn’t need to have a little surgery. I knew that he would fine regardless, but just glad we don’t have to deal with it. We feel luckily not only that this has resolved itself, but that we had the tools and support to keep an eye on it.


Drum roll…..

Today was the big day! I woke up with a huge knot in my stomach because I really didn’t know what we would find out at his hearing test appointment. I could tell there was something wrong, but just didn’t know what it meant for the rest of his life, if anything. Check out these posts for the back story.

Over the last few days I did a TON of reading, including highly technical articles and medical conference presentations about infants and hearing tests. Clay did the same. I also read up on hearing aids, raising kids with hearing impairment, speech therapy and multitude of other topics. If we did discover George had hearing loss, I didn’t want to feel unprepared or caught off guard.

We made the poor ENT doctor sit with us for 30 minutes as we asked in-depth questions about ear anatomy, how the tests work (don’t spare the details) and next steps. When we started talking and using the big words she said, ‘uh-oh, you’ve been talking to Dr. Google’ but it was obvious that she appreciated our fervor in getting our son the best care.

The doc took a peek in his ears while he screamed his head off. Holding head still + no naps = unhappy. She saw fluid, as the earlier tympanometry tests suggested. We kept him awake as she went over all the possibilities with us, telling us that he will need tubes if the fluid doesn’t drain on its own. This will be done when he is a bit older, around 6-8 months.

When our question well ran dry, we moved to another room with the same audiologist we saw last visit. We really like her. She washed his head in several spots and he was NOT pleased, but he was so tired he nodded right off. She attached all the electrodes and got the test going…


He did SO well and stayed in a nice deep sleep for the majority of the test. The test runs clicking sounds and then watches for brain wave response. He jumped and had a great response at the highest level–meaning he is not deaf. We breathed a sigh of relief, but then sucked it in again as she lowered the decibel level. It starts at 80 and works down to 20. She stopped getting a response with George at 30 or 40, which shows a mild/moderate hearing loss. However, because of the delay in brain wave response to the sounds, the results indicated that is almost certainly conductive loss NOT sensorineural (which is the permanent kind).


He started to wake up a little so I held him and kissed him back to sleep.  He totally relaxed and finished the test. SUCH a good boy.

We are really happy with the results. He isn’t hearing well right now but we should be able to get this fixed well before he turns a year old. The audiologist also gave us a number for an educational audiologist that will tell us whether he needs hearing aids or therapy to get him through until the fluid drains or he gets tubes. Clay left her a message this afternoon. This is a crucial time for speech development so we are curious to see what she says!

We are talking to him at a higher volume now, so we look like we are yelling at our baby.



Back To Work

I am back at work this week, doing part time in the office and part time at home. I am actually really enjoying work and only missing one feeding with George. Clay is giving him a bottle of pumped milk for that feeding. He isn’t crazy about the bottle, but hopefully will get used to it as time goes on. I am pumping at work and thats going really well. The lactation room at my office is REALLY nice. I’m keeping a pumping log of how much I’m getting so I will notice right away if my supply is dropping off. Right now I’m pumping 8+ ounces, which is more than he is eating with the bottle. Yay! I also have around 225 ounces in the freezer, so we should be good to go for a long while.

He naps for most of the morning time that I am gone and I love to hug and squeeze him when I get back. Feels so good to have him in my arms!

Its nice to enjoy our evenings hanging out. I love his fluffy cloth butt in this one…a post on our switch to cloth is coming up soon! Its been about a month since we switched and its been going very well.

We also went to George’s audiologist appt yesterday, but we didn’t really learn anything new. He still has fluid (or wax) in his ears making his ear drums very stiff and he failed the screening again (no surprise since the fluid is still there). On monday we will go to another appointment and he will have an ENT doctor look at his ears to see what is going on in there. Then, he will have a Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test. This will determine if he has sensorineural loss or just the conductive (fluid/wax) loss.

He has to be totally asleep for this test since they cannot sedate babies so young. We have a big block of time and will need to sleep deprive him so he will pass out at the office.  He is pretty easy to put to sleep (I did it at yesterday’s appt) so I think it will be okay. Fingers crossed that all goes well!


Can you hear me now?

When George was born he failed his first hearing screen, but passed the second. We didn’t think much of it. But, as the weeks went on, I noticed that he was not startling to loud sounds at all. We could make extremely loud sounds and he would not respond in the slightest. He also was not turning to our voices. We mentioned it to the pediatrician and she recommended we see an audiologist.

We arrived at the audiologist thinking that he would pass the test and she would tell us that he just he was just a tolerant little boy. However, he didn’t pass the screenings. She did several types of test and tried many times. She also did a test to see if he had fluid in his ears and that could be causing the problem and he did.

Luckily, this means he most likely has normal hearing, but the fluid is preventing sound getting to his eardrum. We will go back in a month and see if it as cleared. Because we caught it early, if it does not drain on its own, we can have tubes placed before it causes any speech delays. There is still a possibility that he has hearing loss. If at the next appt there are still issues, we will also move forward with testing for that.

So, we are in the watch and wait mode. Hopefully the next appt in March will go well!



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