Triplet Princes and a Princess

Triplet Princes and a Princess

Our journey to hearing with Cormac while living our life with triplet boys and a baby girl.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ok, where do I start???

Today I met with the director of Summit Speech School. Cormac receives his teacher of the deaf sevices in the house from Summit and also attends a group class once a week at Summit. I wanted to meet with her to discuss what she thought was best for Cormac as he turns three and is no longer eligible for early intervention and is transitioned over to the local school district.

The conversation started with her telling me that Cormac is going to be just fine. She was impressed with what his reports said. She even said she thought might have been done incorrectly and rechecked them becasue she could not believe the progess he has made. Basically, he went from saying nothing, to 2 words and then made a huge jump to long sentences. She said he is a child who will not have trouble learning to read (an issue for some deaf/hearing impaired children). She said he uses words that are normall difficult for deaf children to learn and have to be taught. (any, some) and he understands complex and even abstract concepts. She could not be more pleased with his progress. She said if I had been waiting for a moment to sigh in relief, this was my moment!

Ok, can you say excited??? I know Cormac is doing well. I know how hard he works. I know how much effort goes into our everyday lives to MAKE SURE he is getting what he needs. But, I am his Mom so I always think maybe he could be doing better. To hear a professional tell me he is doing better and that he is "almost right there", meaning caught up to his actual age (he is 34 months old. His receptive langugage is at 33-36 months. His expressive is at 31-33 months) when he has only been hearing 18 months is just such wonderful news. I am so proud of Cormac. He is truly amazing.

My big dilema about what to do with him for school is hopefully solved for now. I still have to wait for the school district but I think they will be open to Summit's recommendations. When he turns 3 in April he will attend Summit for mornings only (not full day). This way he can still spend the rest of the day with his brothers and he won't feel so separated from them. I am going to have a hard time letting him go 3 hours a day but it's what is best for Cormac. We are going to do this for 6 months. In September all the boys will start preschool at a mainstream preschool. COrmac will receive support services. But by giving him 6 months at Summit will just solidify the foundation he already has built. Since Ciaran and Colin can't start school until September its not like they will go without him.

My biggest concern was the next 6 months. I knew he had to continue services but didn't want him in the preschool disabled in town. It is not the appropriate place for him. This decision gives me the best of both worlds!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! That is my sigh of relief! I feel OK about this and am happy with it.

On a different topic, I was asked to write Cormac's story for a website called The woman who contacted me had read this blog and wanted thought it would be a good story for other parents to hear and perhaps it will help a parent of a newly diagnosed deaf child. I was more than happy to write the story. I am by no means a writer. I just wrote how I feel and what our lives are like having triplets and one of them being deaf. So, check it out if you would like to read it. Just click here

So, does that mean I am a published author??? LOL!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Big Thank you to Ciaran and Colin!

As the boys get older and start to understand more about Cormac's hearing I want to make sure I let them know what a vital part they have played in Cormac's progress and development. Ciaran and Colin are by far Cormac's greatest language models. Their amazing ability to never stop talking is wonderful for Cormac to hear on a daily basis.

I want to make sure Ciaran and Colin understand they are part of this entire process. They are not just spectators. It has always been hard because I wonder if they think I spend more time with Cormac because of his therapy. But I swear, I some level they just get it. They know why we do what we do. They understand Cormac can't hear and that's why he goes to school.

There are many times when Ciaran and Colin will say something Cormac has never said before and he immediately repeats what they said. After that, it seems he now "knows" the words or phrases. He can then use them on his own.

Another amazing thing is they always understand everything he says to them. Even when it's not so clear they just get him.

They all also have the same manner of speaking. When a word is said incorrectly, it's said incorrectly by all three. I guess they hear each other say it and so they think it's right. Right now a big word is "tainer". It's short for container. Basically, we have Buzz Lightyear containers that we use for snacks. They all can say the word container but all choose to refer to them as "tainers".

Each day that passes and each day they get bigger. I can't seem to stop it! Each day they make advances in every aspect of their life. Our house is extremely focused on speech and language. Both expressive and receptive. I tend to really notice the speech before anything else for good reason. (as I type this Cormac is standing behind me on a chair and rubbing my shoulders telling me "i giving you massage")

Here's a story that was really adorable. We were in Shoprite. Ciaran , who can only speak on LOUD starts to tell me a story. He says "mom, I'm Super Ciaran. Cormac is Super Cormac and Colin is Super Cormac. I say, really that's nice. He says. Oh, and you are Super Mommy. We are ALLLLLLLLL Super Heros. I say "what about daddy?" He says, Oh yeah, he's Super Daddy". At this point eaveryone within 5aisles can hear him and their was not one person who wasn't smiling at that point.

So, when people ask me is it hard to shop with three? Yep, sometimes, but for the most part we have fun and the conversations are getting cuter and cuter!

I am also told at least a hundred times a day "you're my BESSSST friend". I hope they think that forever! And they are quick to say "you are ALLLLL my best friends". And another one they keep saying which brings tears to my eyes almost every time??? "We are one big happy family" Can it get any better than that???

Good News to report!

We had a follow up ultrasound yesterday. They confirmed once again, it is indeed a girl. For some reason Frank was not totally convinced. But the ultrasound tech was able to show Frank some "internal girl parts" and said it was for sure a girl. He was very excited. As we left the appointment he proudly told the receptionist he was having a daughter! While this is exciting, it's not the GOOD news.

The good news is about baby girl's cleft. Yes, she still has a cleft lip but it seems to be the mildest case. They once again said it does not appear to involve the pallette. If it does it will be very mild. This is wonderful news. And we got great news about the lip as well. The doctor said clefts normally appear as a "gap" in the lip. Ours is NOT a gap but more of a line. There is not a large space just looks like the skin didn't close. Basically, he said we have the best case scenario for a cleft. The craniofacial team will take a look at the pictures and get involved but he strongly feels after surgery she will be just fine and you won't even be able to tell. Yeah!

We had already accepted the diagnosis and we OK with it all. But this lifted our spirits and really made our day. She will still require probably 2 surgeries but that's ok.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Almost a week has passed!

I didn't realize I haven't posted all week. We have been very busy. Not much time to myself lately. We are about to start marketing and have been doing lots of last minute research and preparation. Please keep your fingers crossed for us. I also have a request. Do you have a favorite baby boutique in your neck of the woods? If so, please post their name and city in the comments section. We are trying to get the word out all over but since we are located in NJ and NY we are attempting to get contacts in other states. Any help would be appreciated.

As for the kiddos. All I can say is boys will be boys. They really have very set opinions and ideas at this point. Lots of times they differ from MY ideas and opinions. They are good boys. Just almost 3 years old. Lots of energy. We are praying for Spring because we have spend way too much time indoors lately. I need them to get out and run around. Colin told me the other day "mommy, we never go outside anymore". He doesn't mean we don't leave the house but we don't play outside. We go out most days. We do gymnastics and soccer but man, I can't wait until I can just open the back door and let them play in the yard. Winter sure is tough.

We dont' have another meeting with the school district until March 10th. Seems like forever. Especially since we have to have a deicsion made by April 5th. Doesn't give us much time to come up with a plan. I am hoping it all works out for the best. I strongly feel Cormac should be with his brothers but he needs support services. His progress to date has been amazing. I want him to continue on this path and not make any regressions.

I am going for another ultrasound today. Luckily, Frank is going with me this time. We probably won't find out any more information than we already know but who knows. I have time to digest the situation and am prepared with some questions. I am glad they will closely monitor the situation. I am hoping they still agree it's a girl! I know they can make mistakes! I swore I wouldn't buy anything but I couldn't resist the other day and bought two dresses! I can't even believe I can buy dresses!! They are so stinkin' cute.

That's all for now. I am over half way to having a fourth child! How crazy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Valentine's Day is usually not a big deal for Frank and I. We try and celebrate our love every day so one day is not necessary. This year my Mom offered to babysit for us on Friday night. I didn't even realize it was for Valentine's Day at first. BUt hey, who are we to pass up babysitting??? Anyway, we went out to dinner last night and had a wonderful meal and some adult conversation. And, I swear, we didn't even talk about the kids the whole time!

The kids on the other hand have been gearing up for the Valentime's Day (no that's not a typo. That's how they say it). We made home made cards for Daddy, Grandma and Meemaw along with some cute little heart shaped pillows. Last night when my Mom got here last night they were pretty much bursting at the seems to get them to her.

We woke up Saturday morning and I had a little gift bag for each one of them. They were so excited. Even more excited to give Daddy their homemade cards and heart shape pillow.

We had heart shaped whole wheat pancakes for breakfast.

Those were a HUGE hit. After breakfast Frank had to go to work. So, I had to get the monkeys out of the house for a while. We went to the mall to the indoor play area and ran around for a while. THen I had lunch with my three lil sweethearts. It was a nice day. I wish Frank had been home to spend it with us but he can't help if he has to work. He didn't get hom until after 7pm last night.

We watched a great movie last night. Rare for Frank and I to watch a movie. And we both really enjoyed it which was a bonus!

We are off to church this morning and then I am taking the boys to my mother in laws since poor Frank is working once again.

Hope you all shared the LOVE this Valentine's Day! I know having children has made me love like I never knew possible!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Verdict is in....

We now officially know why Cormac is deaf. He is deaf from Connexin 26 gene mutation. What does this mean for Cormac? Really, it's just something he should know about himself. It will not change the course of his life or treatment. What does it mean for me and Frank? It means any child we have has a 25% chance of having hearing loss. So, baby girl has a chance of having hearing loss. It really doesn't matter to us. We said long ago when we discussed another child if deafness would not deter our decision. So, finding out after the fact is really no big deal. We could have an amnio to find out ahead of time. But why? We already know the drill. We know what to do if she has hearing loss.

The good news in all this? Because Cormac's deafness is caused by Connexin it rules out any "syndromes". We never thought he had any BUT there are some syndromes with hearing loss AND a cleft lip. The cleft lip is now being viewed as just an isolated incident because we know the cause of hearing loss. Does that make sense? Basically, the baby has nothing else besides the cleft lip. Hooray for us!

Now, what does it mean for Ciaran and Colin? It means they have a 75% chance of carrying the mutated gene. That said, they would have to have children with someone else who is also carrying the gene to have a child with hearing loss. The odds are so slim which is why Cormac is the first in both our families to be deaf. But it is possible. Frank and I both had it.

Cormac went for an 18 month check up at NYU. Yep, he has been hearing for 18 months. It seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time. He has been sick but I took him anyway since he was feeling a bit better and it's so hard to reschedule appointments. So, with no nap and under the weather he was put in the sound booth for discrimination testing and an audiogram. I didn't get the results while I was there but as for the discrimination part. I don't think he missed one that I could remember. As a matter of fact, he was teasing them and picking the wrong one and giggling and then choosing the correct item. He's quite the little bugger. They also played an audio tape of a woman saying words. I think he only missed one word. His audiologist said they don't normally give the taped testing to children as young as Cormac but he was able to do it with no problem. He also repeated lots of words the audiologist was saying. At one point she said "finished" and instead of saying "finished" back to her he said "all done". His own little interpretation.

They didnt do a speech evaluation but I think it is supposed to be done shortly.

I was so proud of him. I was expecting him to be a little on the cranky side with no nap and sick but he was awesome. I believe the audiologist used the word "amazing". That sure can make your day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dinner Time Chat

Cormac: "I want to be an astronaut"
Mommy: "why do you want to be an astronaut?"
Cormac: "Because I want to fly to the moon" (yep, he said because!). "I need a helmet."
Mommy: "How will you get to the moon?"
Cormac: "In a rocketship"
Cormac: "Daddy wants to be astronaut, Ciaran wants to be astronaut, Colin wants to be astronaut and Mommy wants to be astronaut"(while pointing to each one of us)"We all go to moon together" "I want to sit on moon".

Mommy: What else do you need to wear to go to the moon?" (I never like to pass up the opportunity to expand the language)
Cormac: "I don't know"
Mommy: "a space suit"

Fast forward about two hours. My mom and step father stopped by to visit. (well, Richie was going to snake the soap out of the toilet!) I say to Cormac "tell meema what you want to be" He says again "i want to be astronaut" Tells her who is going to the moon. She asks if her and Pop Pop can go too and he says "no". I then ask him "what else do you wear to go to the moon?" And immediately the boy says "a space suit!" I swear he has a memory like an elephant. He NEVER forgets a thing once you teach it to him.

Another phrase he has been using lately is "me too!" If Ciaran or Colin says they want to do something or eat something he will say "me too!".

He is really expanding his sentences and his conversation skills. I still have the habit of repeating what he says when other are around but I am trying to not do that for him. Most people understand him, it's just me who is worried about it. I will eventually learn to not do it. My mom was talking on the cell phone with him while we were at Target. I kept taking the phone and repeating what he said to her and she finally said "i know what he said. I can understand him". Ok. I guess I need to stop.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Missing Soap

Well, yesterday proved to be an interesting day. I had a new jumbo pack of soap. I think it had fifteen bars in total. I noticed three were missing. Two were accounted for quickly. There was one bar in each bathroom. The third bar was mysteriously missing. Duke smelt very clean and soapy. I investigate further to find Colin with some seriously soapy hands. I just assumed he had used one of the bars from the bathroom. You know what happens when you assume.....

Fast forward a few hours. Frank goes into the master bath and comes out asking what happened to the toilet. I answer "I have no idea but there IS a bar of soap missing". This leads to a Frank freak out which I totally expected. I was bathing the boys at the time so I just kept doing what I was doing. After bath the boys were laying in our bed watching Diego. This how the conversation went:

Frank (to Colin): "what did you put in the toilet?"
Colin: "soap" (he's too young to know it's wrong so he doesn't deny but gladly talks of his accomplishment!)
Frank:" which toilet?"
Colin: "The BIG toilet"
Frank: "which big toilet"
Colin: pointing to the master bath "that big toilet right there".
Frank: "where's the box from the soap"
Colin: "in the garbage"
Frank: "so you only put the soap in the toilet?"
Colin: "yup"

Case of the mystery soap solved.

I leave the room and can hear Frank questioning further. He's asking why Colin did it. Of course Colin has no idea why he did it but Frank continues to ask repeatedly until I yell from the other room. "He did it because he is TWO and has never been told not to do it now stop asking him why he did it!"

I can only imagine what else will wind up in our toilets at some point with three boys in the house. Now we are faced with how to get it out. He already flushed so it's jammed in there. Frank tried sticking a gloved hand in there but no luck. We are hoping we can snake it out this afternoon but we might have to take the toilet off to remove it. Apparently, soap doesn't melt the the toilet!

In other news...
Cormac goes on Wednesday for his 18 month post implant appointment. Since he is part of the Advanced Bionics study they require some appointments. Can you imagine he has been hearing for 18 months? It sure has gone by quickly. He has made remarkable progress. Some of the words he uses I am not even sure how he knows. I think he is always listening to everyone and really pays attention.

His newest phrases are "sure, I can do that". "how are you today?", he says "thanks" instead of thank you alot. His plurals have taken off and he really doesn't seem to drop the "s". He properly uses "our/ours" "your/yours" "you" "mine". He has started using "he and she" and "his and hers". We are currently working on "why" and "because". We are modeling it for him now and he has repeated it a few times. I have been saying "why do we eat?" "because we are hungry". "why do we sleep?" Because we are tired. You get the idea. It's hard to come up with lots of whys when you are put on the spot!

Colin and Ciaran continue to amaze me with their speech as well. I don't take their talking for granted. We were watching Noggin this morning and they show three elephants and ask which is different. Colin quickly points out the elephant with out the hat and says "the one in the middle is different". I ask "why is he different?" He says "because he is missing his hat!". I would have thought he would say "he doesn't have a hat" but "missing his hat" just cracked me up.

We went to church this morning. We are trying to make a better effort to attend church this year. Our church doesn't have a nursery but they do have a children's mass. They surprised us today and all sat pretty well for the entire service. Colin actually never really moved. Ciaran played and Cormac loved the singning and guitar and kept saying "i hear music". And "who's that talking" when the priest would talk.

I want to say thanks to everyone who responded to my last post about our baby girl. Thanks for all the encouraging words and support. We know she will be fine. It's just tough to hear something is wrong. Now that the news has settled in we are just looking forward to meeting our little girl and are sure we can handle anything they tell us. I am fortunate to have such wonderful friends, family and most of all the most supporting husband.

We have been telling the boys they will be big brothers and are going to have a sister. They think it's funny. Cormac interrupted dinnert the other night and said "Mommy, I want to get the baby a tiara". I guess somehow he knows every girl needs a tiara. Now, you know I have to find a tiny tiara so he can give it to her when she is born. He tells me every day he wants to get her a tiara! I still am shocked he knew what a tiara was to begin with!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Update on our new addtion some exciting and some not so good news :(

We found out Monday our latest addtion is a girl. We are excited and scared. Can you imagine this poor soul trying to get a date when she has three older brothers? The way the ages work out they will be seniors when she is a freshman in high school. She might think she is the luckiest girl alive if all the senior boys are hangin' at her house. BUT her brothers might not like it too much. Anyway, she will be well spoiled, loved and protected.

While we were able to find out about the sex of the baby they also noticed something on the ultrasound. It appears the baby has a cleft lip. I was totally not prepared to hear anything bad. I was alone at the office because no one could go with me. All the wind got knocked out of my sails. The joyous news of a baby girl was overshadowed by the news of her lip.

We really won't know anything much for a while. The baby is still so small it's really hard to tell how involved it is at the moment. At this point they don't think the palete is involved. I am praying it is just the lip. It will be monitored by the perinatologist and will have to see a pediatric ENT, a pediatric plastic surgeon and a host of other specialists.

I know in the grand scheme of things it's not that big a deal. Things could be worse. But it doesn't seem to make it any easier. No one wants to learn their child has something wrong. No one wants to find out months before their baby is even here that she will have to endure surgery when she is only about 3 months old. SHe might need more than one surgery.

I am in the why me? stage right now. I know I shouldn't feel that way but I do. I felt that way for a short time when Cormac was diagnosed as deaf. It took a while for the shock to wear off and then I dusted myself off and charged ahead. If you read this blog you know the outcome. Cormac is amazing. I have dedicated every waking moment to making sure he has a postive outcome. More than I think anyone realizes because no spends the entire day with us. I wouldn't trade it for the world but it's not always been an easy road. With two others requiring the same amount of time I walk a fine line balancing the needs and wants of all three without making anyone feel left out. I think I do a pretty good job at this but who knows? Maybe some day Ciaran and Colin will say I spent more time with Cormac. I hope they realize it was all in the best interest of our family.

I just keep thinking about how much one person can do. I am only one person. I still have years of making sure Cormac is getting all the support he needs. How will I now have a baby who will need lots of doctors appointments and more care than your average newborn? Can I handle it? God only gives you what you can handle. I am thinking God thinks I am better equipped than I am aware.

I was so excited when I learned I was pregnant with this baby. I would get to enjoy just being pregnant. Triplet pregnancies are filled with fear and worry. You spend the whole time counting the weeks to make sure your babies can survive. Make sure they stay put long enough to avoid long term disabilities even though you have NO CONTROL over any of it. You don't get to really enjoy being pregnant. At each doctor visit you are reminded of the doom and gloom. Just make it to 24 weeks and we can "try" and save them. Make it to 28 weeks and the odds go up. Make it to 30 weeks and my doctor said he would do back flips. You know what? He still owes me some back flips. I cooked those suckers until almost 32 weeks!

I was on bed rest for 12 weeks. I was hospitalized more times than I can remember. And I didn't even have many complications. I thought this would be different. I thought it would be smooth sailing. Now, I am worried to death. I fear for what will happen. I am just plain ole' sad. I know I must sound selfish right now but trust me, in a few days I will rise up and start planning our future. I will find the best team to treat her and start making decisions. Just like I did with Cormac. I will pray for some guidance because for some reason this is throwing me for a loop.

Please say a prayer for our little girl if you could.

Monday, February 2, 2009