Monday, December 22, 2008

Vince is turning 30!!!

Okay so Saturday night I was able to surprise the hell out of my husband. I threw him a surprise birthday party with all of his friends and family. I felt so bad because I had been lying to him for about two weeks so that I could keep it a secret. We had so many friends and family join us for the special occassion. I have to say a huge thank you to everyone for coming and for keeping it a secret because he had no idea. Thank you to all that helped me out because I was a mess and could not have done it without you. We had so much fun and really enjoyed ourselves. Vince was so surprised and happy to have all the company over at the house. He had been bugging me for about two months saying that we really needed to have an annual Christmas party every year. But I kept saying it was going to be too much trouble and that we just didn't have the room. So it was really hard not being able to tell him, but it was all worth it. I just didn't know what to get him for his birthday or Christmas because he is so hard to shop for so I figured the best gift would be celebrating with family and friends. Vince is a really big family man and he loves making memories with everyone.
The Texas State Bobcat Birthday cake. And yes there were 30 candles!!!
The Birthday boy blowing out all 30 candles!!!
Bryan and Jennifer. She's expecting and around 18 weeks pregnant!!!
Amera and Aly. I think Aly is up to something, you never know!!!
Ashlee and Braxton. She is also expecting and is around 18 weeks pregnant!!!
I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Better Late than Never

Okay so here are Jacob's three month photos. Vince and I decided to celebrate with a Christmas chocolate cake. Isn't he so cute. Sorry for the delay, I promise I will get better at posting once the holidays are all over.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa's Little Helper

Well Vince and I went to Northeast Mall on Sunday to take Jacob to see Santa. We stood in line for over 2 hours. We decided to take shifts to go shopping because it was so boring just hanging out in line. Jacob did awesome because he was asleep the entire time. We finally woke him up a few kids before it was his turn. We figured he would wake up once we put him in Santa's arms so we decided to wake him up so that we didn't have a cranky groggy baby for the picture. Here's the picture, what do you think? He's so darn cute. Hopefully next year he will have more of a clue what is going on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Can you hear me NOW!!!

Okay this is going to be a long blog, but I wanted to share with everyone one of the most amazing days of my life. Today was probably the most exciting and thrilling day for Jacob, Vince and myself. Hooray!!! Jacob got his new hearing aids today and it was the perfect gift for Christmas.
As most of you all know Vince and I have been dealing with the recent hearing diagonsis of our son, Jacob. He has Auditory Neuropathy, which is a hearing impairment that means he can still hear sounds at certain levels, but the sounds don't quite synchronize with his brain. The first step of treatment to help minimize his hearing loss is to fit him with hearing aids. The aids are meant to allow for sound to travel directly to his ear and to continue stimulating the auditory nerve that transmits sound signals to the brain. Getting the hearing aids today was such a blessing. The appointment took about 2 and half hours of testing and learning all about how the aids work and to properly care for them. Trust me they are expensive so we want to know exactly how to take care of them. Right now Jacob currently has two aids, one for each ear. One is a loaner aid provided by Cooks Children's Hospital and the other we purchased ourselves.
At the beginning of the appointment we tested Jacob's hearing using a sealed sound booth. It is pretty much the same kind of test we all received when we were in elementary school. Now don't laugh because even though I think my baby is a genius, he didn't raise his hands when we turned on the sounds. I think that might have freaked me out a little because he can't even roll over by himself. The main difference with this test is that small tube micorphones were placed in both of his ears and we looked for body responses from Jacob while he was sucking on his bottle. Basically when babies are sucking on a bottle or paci when they hear sounds it causes them to stop the sucking motion in order to respond. Sometimes they raise their eyebrows, their pupils can widen or their head my flinch. Jacob's audiologist said that he was the poster child for the test because he showed great results. She was able to determine that Jacob has a mild hearing loss, which means he can hear sounds at a conversational level and that quite whispers are where his hearing gets a little fuzzy. Still great news, because it means that this whole time that Vince and I have been playing, singing and talking to him he has been able to hear us. All that hard work paid off. Just kidding!!! Being with our baby is the most precious and exciting thing for us to do, so it's not really work, just awesome play time.
After the appointment was over, Jacob and I headed back home, while Vince went to work. Jacob was awake for about an hour after we got home, so he wore his aids the whole time and then he quickly fell asleep. His poor little brain was on over drive and he needed a break, so he slept for about 3 hours. And believe me he needed it, because we have been sleep training for the past week because he doesn't really like to take naps. But he went down with really no problems. He woke up a little bit before 5pm and it was time to put his aids back on his ears. He is only suppose to wear the aids during all waking hours of the day and not really during his sleep. It's not that the aids would do anything to him during his sleep, it's just that they can be uncomfortable on his ears while pressing down on the mattress and his head.
So we started to put the aids back on and they look easy enough to mess with, but try dealing with a moving target. It does get easier, it just takes practice. And they fit perfectly. Once we got the aids back on and he had a refreshing nap, it was like a whole new baby. I have never seen him so excited and giddy over all the toy sounds that we started playing with. He was laughing and smilling the entire time and was so intrigued by the toy piano keys. I know this might sound corny, but I pretty much cried a little to myself because it was the most touching and amazing thing I have seen so far. Vince and I have been truly blessed with this miracle baby boy. The one thing that I wished could have happened is that Vince didn't get to see much of Jacob in action. By the time Vince got home from work Jacob was winding down and it was getting pretty close to bedtime and he started to get a little cranky. I guess babies will be babies.
So to wrap up this whole experience, I would have to say it was eye opening and awe-inspiring. Learning all about Jacob's condition has made me so aware of all the wonderful things God has given me. I have a wonderful and caring husband. A beautiful home that I take so much pride and enjoyment in decorating. An awesome family and circle of friends. And of course a healthy and extraordinary baby boy that has touched my life in so many ways he will never know how much. I couldn't ask for more. So I want to say thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this blog and caring so much. All the wonderful words of encouragment and prayers have gotten us to where we are now. I've said it before and I will say it again, Vince and I have been truly blessed.

Jacob with his first pair of hearing aids. Isn't he too cute for words. Pardon all the drool on the bib, this child just can't keep it in his mouth.

This is the right ear hearing aid that is on loan from Cooks Children's Hospital.

And this is the left hearing aid that we purchased. Notice that it is nude colored. We figured when he gets older and if he is still wearing a hearing aid he can choose his own color next time. I figured nude went everything, I am such a girl.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Christmas is our favorite time of year. It has become somewhat of a tradition that on the Friday after Thanksgiving we get down the decorations and get to work. Hauling down boxes and decorations from the attic is a total whipping, so is testing light strings to find the one light that is burned out that is keeping the entire sting from lighting up. Aside from these small nuances we love getting ready for Christmas and this time of year. Here are some pics of our process this year:

This is the outdoor portion of our mess this year.

Once assembled this might resemble a Christmas tree!

Rebecca and Jake are busy making cheesecakes for Christmas Parties.
Making sure each light works, each light is evenly spread out and working is no easy process.
Seven is trying to figure out why I have been outside for 2 hours and won't let him out.

The finished product. Not Christmas related but a good pic, Jacob holding his head up trying to figure it all out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 Month Old Pics

Jacob is now 11 going on 12 weeks old. Here are two pictures of him at 1 month and 2 months old.
1 Month

2 Months

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Audiotory Neuropathy

This is what Jacob has preliminary been diagnosised with. Below is a link for information if anyone would like to know more about the condition. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/neuropathy.htm

Appointment with Otolaryngologist

We met with the Otolaryngologist (Dr. Bauer) on Wednesday for the first of many times. In the event you did not know, an Otolaryngologist is an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, one of many new things we are going to learn about. The appointment was not really so much about a diagnosis but rather talking about what we can expect from here. Dr. Bauer told us that this is most likely permanent and we have to see where to go from here. One of the things that the he ruled out is that this has nothing to do with ear infections and goes way beyond anything tubes could help with. His hearing loss is most likely due either an illness, genetics, or perhaps the hardware is simply not put together correctly. In any event we have an upcoming appointment with the audiologist again on November 13th to get another ABR test (Auditory Brainstem Response) test; this is the same test he received back in mid October that gave us this original news. The doctors want to see if they can get more information than what they received previously; this will all go to help diagnosis the underlying problem. We also have an appointment lined up with a Speech Therapist that we will likely be visiting once a week for quite some time. We are also going to have some genetic testing done to see if we can get more information as to the “Why”, this will also likely help with the diagnosis. In Feb/March timeframe we will have an MRI to see if his ears are developed properly or if that is part of the problem. In between all of this we are going to be getting some hearing aids to see if this may help, however it is likely it will not as the doctors feel this is more of getting him use to having something on his ear for the future. If it’s determined that a cochlear implant will benefit Jacob then we can look at doing this surgery at around one year of age. All of this is being done so that we can give Jacob the best chance at being able to hear, speak normally, and develop just as any other child his age. It is going to be far more difficult, time consuming, and challenging than we ever anticipated but Rebecca and would not trade this for anything.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

He's going to be a genius

Here's just a little video of the little man hard at work!!!
video

A Sweet Treat

Here's a couple photos of our Halloween NightItsy Bitsy Spider

He was orginally suppose to be a tiger but he out grew his costume.

Scary Face
Texas State Bobcat
Justin, Jill, and Jason joined in the halloween fun with their painted pumpkins!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hearing Loss Reversed in Animal Study Using Cord Blood

I checked my email this morning and had a newsletter from Cord Blood Registry where we banked Jake's Cord Blood. Apparently there might be a chance to use the cord blood to restore hearing. Obviously we still wont know what is going on and what steps are necessary but this is a remarkable to me. Cord blood stem cells have the ability to help restore hearing, according to a study published last month in Cell Transplantation. In the study, which used animal models, subjects treated with cord blood stem cells showed significant healing to the damaged portion of the sensory hair cells and neurons in the inner ear, while non-treated subjects continued to show serious damage. According to David Eve, Ph.D. at the University of South Florida, "This study provides hope for a potential treatment for the repair of hearing impairments." Hearing loss is the most prevalent birth defect in America today, affecting 2-3 infants per 1,000 births http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/120350.php

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Changes and Perspective…

Rebecca gave me the password to this site to allow me to jot down my thoughts. The truth is that I am not much of a blogger, I simply do not have the stamina to write continuous entries to keep people coming back, and a semiannual blog post would be pretty boring to the readers. Plus the English language and punctuation baffle me, it is a wonder how I skated through college level English much less high school! I have to admit that this whole situation with Jacob has caught me off guard. When he failed his first 2-3 hearing screenings while in the hospital after delivery I thought nothing of it as the nurses assured us that is was most likely due to fluid in his ears. Then when he went back a week later for a follow up hearing screening and failed I felt the same way. Jake and Rebecca went to the audiologist twice, the first time Jacob needed to sleep through the tests to get a good reading and he was bright eyed and fussy. The second time was last Thursday when we received this latest prognosis. When Rebecca called me after the test I was completely baffled as to what she was telling me. I never allowed myself to think that the earlier tests were nothing more than fluid or simply Jake being fussy. My initial denial was to question the validity of the audiologists test results or maybe its still just fluid, no way could Jake have any issues. When Rebecca called me that day she could barely converse with me as she was so beat up by the news. I was simply in shock and just kind of sat at my desk after our conversation (as I was at the office when she called) and thought, alright what do we have to do now? The only time I got visible upset was when I drove home that day pondering the situation. Is it possible that our son could miss out on the joys that we all associate with hearing? One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the back porch during a thunderstorm and listen to the thunder and rain beat down, will Jake miss out on this? I am an avid hunter and can not wait until Jake gets old enough to join me, will he ever get to hear that Buck rubbing against a tree in the brush or perhaps a dove cooing in a distance? More importantly will he be able to react to the dangers that sound alerts you to like a police/ambulance siren, horn honking, or to go back to the hunting scenario that bear growling behind him. I know the bear scenario is over the top and I am being lighthearted but hey it could happen. The situation that deeply sadden me the most was to think if he can’t hear he might not be able to develop the ability to speak properly. Would this mean the Rebecca and I would miss out on the treasured parent moment of hearing their child say “Dada or Momma” for the first time, might he not be able to speak at all? I must say that the outpouring of support we have received via this blog from family and friends is overwhelming. It is so great to have such a strong support group to get through this. I have gotten many messages to give a unique perspective on the situation and it really helps Rebecca and I cope with the situation. After a day or so of research it appears that with the cochlear implants or perhaps hearing aids Jacob may be able to hear that bear growling at him after all and lead a relatively normal life. We simply will not have much information until we meet with the Ear, Nose, and Throat Doc on November 5th but I can say I am becoming more optimistic as I educate myself to this change. We love you all who have provided words of encouragement; you all mean the world to our family! Vince

Thursday, October 23, 2008

God only gives us what we can handle...

Today was not a good day for Vince and me. It was one of many doctor's visits for our little baby Jacob. We went to the doctor for our scheduled hearing test at the Cook's Children's Pediatric Rehabilitation center. Jacob and I were there for over two hours and walked out with not so good news. For those of you that don't know, since birth Jacob has had many hearing tests to determine if he has any hearing loss. Some of the tests he has passed and some he has failed. Unfortunately today we received bad news for both ears. Right now it has been determined that he has moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears and it looks like it could possibly be permanent. We don't know the exact extent of his hearing loss, but it looks like our little man will have to either live with hearing aids for the rest of his life or as a family we will all have to learn sign language. He has another doctor's appointment on Nov. 5 that will give us the final determination of his diagnosis. So the next two weeks are going to be agony for Vince and me because things are still too early to determine which path God is going to have us travel. As I type this letter, my eyes are filled with tears. As a mommy, I only want the best for my baby and I don't want anything bad to ever happen to him. I only wish I could take on this burden myself and Jacob doesn't have to go through this. I recall the day he was born and remember the old saying, "I never knew I could love someone so much without knowing them." Well I am here to tell you that your love only grows deeper and deeper and more meaningful in more ways than you will ever know. So when I heard the news all I could do was hold my baby as tight as I could to keep my heart from breaking. I love him so much. So for now until we determine what path our little man will be taking, Vince and I ask for you to pray your hearts out for the best possible diagnosis, whatever that might be. We love our little baby so much and it’s all in the hands of God and we have complete faith in him. He only gives us what we can handle and the strength to handle it. I just try to remember all the wonderful things God has given us and smile. So I leave you with this small little video of one of the most precious things God has blessed Vince and I with, our miracle baby. video

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunglasses

My future is so bright, I've got to wear shades...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Smile...

Well it's official, it finally happened!!! Jacob smiled!!! He actually smiled all by himself and it wasn't gas because he kept doing it over and over. I had just finished feeding him his afternoon meal and he was ready to play. I starting making funny noises at him as he stared up at me with those beautiful blue eyes. And he broke out the most amazing smile. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera ready because it was completely unexpected. I did however have to call his daddy to tell him the good news. Vince demanded to see this smile in person and couldn't wait to get home from work to witness it personally. So when he walked in the door, Jacob and I were ready to show him our huge accomplishment. And he did it again. SMILE!!! Here is a picture of one of his smiles the next day. Sorry I couldn't get him to smile that much. guess he was having an off day or maybe I just wasn't as funny anymore.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

1 month

Okay I know this is over a week old, but figured better late than never. Jacob is (1) month old. It is unbelievable how much he has grown in just one month. He is doing great. He has learned to hold his own head up without much help. His legs are getting so strong. I think he will probably start walking pretty soon. He is great at tummy time and loves to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy. So far he is getting pretty good at sleeping through the night. We finally got him use to sleeping in his crib and not in bed with Vince and I. We are so enjoying that part. Vince and I can't wait until he gets older and recognizes us and squeals with excitement!!! We can't wait for Halloween because Jacob has the cutest little outfit to wear. He is going to be a tiger. I hope the outfit will fit him by then, but if not we will at least get a few pictures of him in it. We are so excited about the upcoming holidays because he will be getting more of a personality as he gets older. We just can't wait.

First Post

So I decided to go ahead and switch to this website because it just seemed logical and easier. I will try to keep this website updated as much as possible with all wonderful events that are going on in the Porter House. Check back often to find out what we are up too!!!