Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Visually Stunning ...

As of last Friday, our family has officially checked off the final item on our NICU Discharge List. Three and a half years. That's how long it's taken our family to no longer be under the NICU Black Cloud. Well, emotionally, I'm not sure if we'll ever be out from under it. But officially? Check. Bea dressed up for the occasion:
The accessorizing? I just... I just can't even deal...
Friday, Busy Bea and I spent the day having her first ophthalmologist visit, for a follow-up to check for a condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP. Bea's birth weight (if you'll recall, was sub-kilo) and her gestational age, plus her need for a small amount of supplemental oxygen during her NICU stay put her at a fairly moderate risk for developing the condition. Since it can lead to blindness (example: Stevie Wonder), we were eager to get all clear. Because we're so very fortunate to live in an area that's rich with resources and medical care options, we took Beatrice Kate to see one of the best pediatric eye doctors in the nation. Turns out... it was a bit of overkill. But we'll get to that ...
I wasn't sure at first how well Bea would cooperate with the whole "read these symbols so we can check your vision" test. She is, after all, three and a half, and former preemie or not, she's still all sassitude these days and I never know which mood she'll be in. Thankfully, she was willing to be accommodating, at least at first:
You guys. She looked SO tiny in that big ol' chair. She's so mature-acting these days, that sometimes I forget she's just a teeny, tiny little thing. But this? This brought it right back home:
Bea did okay on the symbol test. But since her vision was testing at 20/100, I was guessing that her lack of enthusiasm for being there was influencing things a bit:
Thankfully, the nurse finally got the memo that to get a preschooler to engage, it's usually best to create a game out of the situation. And since my kid loves nothing more than her love for Dress-Up, the next rounds of tests went much better as she was checked for color blindness:
Funny Glasses? Okay, I'm in.
 And her depth perception was also tested:
Duke is a teaching hospital, so before we saw THE doctor, we first spent some time with her Fellow. He was a SUPER nice guy, who tried everything in his power to make things more interesting for Bea; including pulling out the Big Guns... The mechanical puppies:
But she wasn't impressed:
Again, Bea's patience was waning and though she was willing to repeat the vision test, she wasn't excited about it. This time, the Fellow used the more traditional Letter System, and Bea quickly grew exasperated at having to read letters over and over and just started memorizing them (sounds familiar, huh?) I mean, you guys, this is SO beneath her abilities apparently:
She's saying: I already said. B, E, Z, K, R. 
Even though she was Sooooooo Totally Bored, her vision actually tested at 20/15 and she won the Fellow over with her astute knowledge of the alphabet.

I was equal parts Proud Mommy for her knowing all her letters and embarrassed for how un-apologetically Know-It-All she was being. Moving on. The Fellow also took a quick peek at the anatomy of her eye. I love how incredibly studious and serious Beatrice Kate's face was during this one:
She's either giving this guy the Stink Eye or she's trying to figure out how that machine works ...
And because the whole point of the visit was to look at her retinas, Bea had to have her eyes dilated. Which. Was. Hilarious:
I couldn't believe how still she sat through getting the drops put in her eyes, but she didn't move a muscle. The drops were very fast acting and within minutes Bea was telling me, "Mommy, my eyes feel rough" and the poor thing couldn't see more than a few feet in front of herself! Thankfully, THE eye doctor was ready for us by that point and after a quick exam of her retinas:
The doctor confirmed that Our Girl is officially no longer at risk for developing ROP. Bea is just about as perfect as we could hope for, which we knew already visually speaking. Her vision is perfect. Her retinas are perfect. And she has absolutely ZERO lingering effects from her prematurity or supplemental oxygen. That my friends, is why we call her a Miracle. She truly is one in a million, folks. Our child has proven over, and over again the power of prayer, and the power of modern medical science.

Naturally, we had to celebrate. With ice cream. Which Bea had a really hard time seeing and finally asked me to spoon feed it to her:
Until she got a better idea:
Whatever. She earned it.

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