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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Calleigh's Surgery

Most of you know Calleigh had surgery(Tonsils removed, adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears).  Knowing Calleigh we were prepared for things to not go as planned.  She tends to do this to us :)  We had to be at New York Presbyterian Hospital at 6:15 am.  Poor Calleigh couldn't eat anything after midnight.  I was expected her to be like a tiny maniac and begging for milk like she doesn every morning.  But she didn't cry or anything.  Her surgery was supposed to be at 7:45 but they had an emergency and she wasn't taken untl 9:45.  She was such a trooper and just played and kept herself busy.  Not once did she cry or anything before the surgery.

The surgery took less than an hour.  We were surprised at how quickly the surgery was.  We barely got a chance to eat a bite of food and the surgeon was already back saying she did great.  He told us we would be staying the night unless she recovered better than most considering her medical history.  He also said she had the biggest tonsils....EVER.  He called them kissing tonsils since they were touching.  Well, less than three hours later we were in the car heading home.

She was such a trooper.  She woke up from the anesthesia and with a very scruffy sounding voice said "where's Calleigh?" while covering her eyes and then uncovered her eyes and said "Oh, there she it".  This is her favorite little game right now.  SHe started laughing and that was really it.  She inhaled two Italian Ices and we were sent on our merry way.  I was shocked we were sent home but honestly it's where we needed to be.

Calleigh had a lot of really thick fluid in her right ear.  He felt it would never had come out on it's own.  Her left ear also had fluid but it was thinner.  He said her hearing was probably better immediately.  He strongly feels the hearing loss she was showing was a result of this fluid.  We will not know for sure until they retest her hearing in another two weeks.

Calleigh has never really missed a beat.  She ate three scrambled eggs for breakfast the next morning and went from there.  She never really missed to much when it came to eating.  She had lots of ice pops and ice cream.  Other than her fighting taking her medication you would never even know she had surgery.

Since the surgery she has been talking more and repeating every thing we say.  She seems like a new kid.  I am so happy we had the surgery.  She really needed it.

I know this is a late entry but I wantd to make sure it made it to print when the time came :)

Calleigh will always be one of the toughest chicks EVER......

Monday, June 18, 2012

Being the TYPICAL Kid

In a not so typical family..... can be hard. It seems like it would be OK but Colin suffers his own form of "survivor's guilt". Keep in mind, he is the only kid who has never received special "attention" as he sees it. He doesn't see it as therapy. He sees it as something "special".

  If you know Colin you know he is the worrier of them family. Just last week when I was talking to them about Calleigh going into the hospital for surgery he said "Mom, she is just a little girl. Why does she have to go through so much surgery?"

 He stays up later at night and he thinks about stuff. If you lay in bed with him and his is the only one awake he will talk about his worries. I am not saying he is a sad kid just a thinker.

He has come up with a list of things he knows making him different than the other kids. I NEVER thought about any of them but he told m:

1. He is the only one with brown eyes.

2. He is the only one without an "A" in his name.

3. He is the only one "with nothing wrong with his cochleas".

4. He has darker skin coloring and everyone else is "really white".

5. And apparently, he is the only one with an "outie" belly button.

To think he is keeping a list makes me sad. We tell him all the time how lucky he is to have brown eyes like his Daddy. He has an "A" in his middle name. He is lucky he gets a nice tan.

What I find ironic is Ciaran and Cormac do not perceive themselves as "different" from anyone. They are who I was worried about because as a parent who wouldn't worry? We worry they might be made fun of or teased.

  I guess it's all in his perception. He thinks Ciaran, Cormac and Calleigh are getting lots of extra time with "different" people. I have tried taking him and spending alone time with him but that is not what he wants. Before we moved we an awesome artist was seeing him once a week for an hour. He volunteered his time. It was great and he felt really special. The guy is an amazing cartoonist and he would draw Iron Man with him. When we moved we had to stop seeing him. He still asks about him.

I hope he never feels like we didn't pay as much attention to him as the other kids.  That is simply not true.  I am trying to think of what I can do to make him feel better.  He is such a sweet, sweet boy.  I don't want him to ever feel bad.  I don't want him to ever feel different.  Colin is so special in so many ways.  He is so smart.  I mean really smart.  He is kind.  He wears his heart on his sleeve.  His feeling are easily hurt.  He tells me more than any of the kids how much he loves me, how he thinks I am beautiful.  He never wants to hurt anyone's feelings.  We have a running joke in the house about who makes better eggs, me or Frank.  He will NEVER chose one of us.  He always says we both make the best eggs. 

  He loves anything to do with building.  He can name any tool you will ever need and knows it's purpose. He builds "contraptions" in the back yard for many purposes.  I seriously think he might be  an engineer even though he says he wants to be a Vet.  He would spend his life outside if we let him.  When Ciaran and Coramc come in from the yard he will stay out there building for hours.  Like I said, he is a thinker.

I am not sure what I can do about it.  It's not a daily occurance but it's something that comes up here and there.  When he gets upset about something is when it tends to come out.  I am trying to think of something for him to do he will perceive as special.  He doesn't want alone time with me because I tried that out.  I had someone who had volunteered to work with him once a week and he loved it.  The guy was an amazing artist.  The first week he drew the most outstanding Iron Man and Colin was hooked..  Colin LOVED it and still asks for him but since we moved he can't go any longer. 

Anyone else have this issue with their "typical" kid???

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I met a man today who was in his seventies and had profound hearing loss his entire life.  He went to a deaf school and learned to talk by feeling what the sounds felt like and he was an amazing lip reader.  He now has an implant in one ear.  He has had it for a few years and he says while he can't hear speech with it he relies on his implant to support his other ear that has a hearing aid.  He loves that he can hear the telephone ring.  He loves that he can hear environmental sounds.  Keep in mind, the ear had not had any access to sound for most of his life. 

I chatted with him and shared our family's story.  When I told him about Cormac receiving implants at such a young age he said "well, I bet by Kindergarten he was able to be mainstreamed.  Kids are so lucky these days."  I told him Cormac was mainstreamed by age three.  He literally got tears in his eyes and he gave me a high five.  He was such sweet man.  He had near perfect speech.  I would have NEVER known he was deaf if he hadn't told me. (Well, I was installing a Caption Call phone for him so I knew before I got there)

I know Cormac's journey was not easy by any means.  I know he worked so hard to get where he is today.  But, man, I couldn't imagine achieving the same goal without his implants.  This man must have worked sooo hard as a child.  He said he went to a deaf school for all his life.  He never let his deafness stop him.  He had a successful career.  He was married for over 50 years.  He had two children who he said never knew he was deaf until they were teenagers! 

He was so thrilled to have the new phone connected.  He struggles with the phone and he is very active and has lots of peope to talk to.  He runs several clubs in his community.  Meeting someone like this makes me realize EVEN MORE how blessed we are to be able to take advantage of the amazing technology existing today.  I always say Cormac was born at such a great time but meeting this kind man really makes me appreciate it that much more.

We talked about choices and options available today. He told me he has lived a wonderful life and is very proud of the life he has lead but would have loved to have an implant as a child to be able to hear like the children today hear. I wasnso happy to be able to give him some help with the new captioning phone. When i left he hugged me and said to keep on doing what i am doing and congratulations on all of our accimplishments.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Off to a good start..

Even though we finished school on Tuesday last week I am considering this weekend the beginning of Summer break.  We had a ton going on the end of last week.  That said, I am hoping the rest of our Summer goes as well as this weekend and today.  The weekend was great and we celebrated Calleigh's birthday.  I will write a different post about her birthday. 

I decided to go out this morning for a bike ride and a run before the kids were even up for the day.  It was a wonderful way to start the day.  I am hoping to continue this at least 4 days a week.  I hope I can stick with it.  When I got back we had a nice breakfast and got ready for the beach.

This was my first time going to the beach with the four kids alone this season.  Last year Calleigh wasn't really walking until the end of Summer.  This year is a whole different ball game!  I was pleasantly surprised how well the day went.  The boys were listening really well.  Now that Cormac can hear on the beach it takes a little of worry away.  We spend a few hours at the beach and had lunch while we were there.  I love eating at the beach because I don't have to clean up the house.  It's the little things that make life easier.

After a few hours we headed back home.  We got rinsed off and changed and I needed to do some grocery shopping.  The shopping trip went better than expected.  Calleigh normally hates shopping and does not cooperate.  Add to that a few rowdy 6 year olds and it doesn't always make for an enjoyable experience.  Today was different.  The baby was happy...the boys were tired from the beach and very calm.

After shopping I put Calleigh down for her nap.  We headed to the basement and we did a giant PURGE...we got rid of tons of stuff.  It felt so good and what an improvement.   We had a nice dinner outside on the porch.  After dinner the boys helped me make some cookies.  Cooking is such a great teaching/language lesson.  It makes me happy to cook and bake with them.  We ate our yummy cookies for dessert. 

We also starting keeping journals for the Summer.  We are going to try and write in them daily along with drawing some pictures.  They had fun with it today and wrote about going to the beach and making cookies.  The pictures they drew are adorable.

We ended the night with reading lots of books.  The funniest thing of the night was Ciaran chose the book "Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You".  He hands me the books and Cormac coming running in with a handful of tissues.  He says "Mom, these are for you since you can't read that book without crying".  He is too funny.

Frank is upstairs with them now putting them to bed and they are telling their silly stories they tell each night.  I am getting ready to put Calleigh to bed after she watches her favorite show (Super Why). 

If today is any indication of how are Summer will be...I am all in!  LOL

Tomorrow we all head into NYC for Calleigh to get a check up.  She is scheduled for surgery on Friday as long as he gives her the go ahead tomorrow.  As much as I don't want her to have surgery. I know she needs it.  I would rather get it over with and am hoping it doesn't get postponed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Flashback Friday

In honor of Calleigh turning THREE on Sunday.  Here is the first time they actually let me hold her.  She was already a week old.......

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And Calleigh has an IEP....

Our meeting was today.  It went really well.  It was a much different experience than when Cormac aged out of Early Intervention.   It seemed like they had no idea what to do with Cormac because we did not want him in the district program.  We wanted him in private preschool and it was a whole strange process.  Our district at the time only had a preschool disabled with no options of typical kids being in the class. Not the right place for Cormac.  Anyway, this was much easier.

 Calleigh has different issues.  She has more typical delays school districts are used to dealing with; speech delay and gross motor delay.  Our new district has two options for kids.  A self contained class and an integrated class.  Typically, the three year olds entering go into the self contained class.  However, the team felt she was too advanced cognitively to be in the self contained class :)  Score one for Calleigh.  She will be in the integrated class with a mix of children.  This makes me happy as she will have some good language models around her.

She will get three sessions of physical therapy a week.  She will get three sessions of Speech Therapy a week and she will get two sessions of OT a week.  Even though her fine motor skills are not delayed she will get OT to help her with her balance issues.  Although I wish she didn't need to go to school so soon or she didn't need so much help I know this is the best place for her.  As I type this she is walking through the house in a tutu kicking a ball.  Two months ago she could not do this.  She is making huge gains and I think she will really soar being around kids her own age.

Our goal is to get her caught up be Kindergarten so she can join her brothers at their school.  Honestly, in the next two years I think this is more than possible. 

Calleigh is scheduled to her surgery on Friday June 15th.  We will not know for sure if she will have the surgery until Tuesday.  She will be getting her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes in her ears.

One IEP done for next year....two to go! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thoughts on Kindergarten Graduation

It doesn't seem possible the boys will be graduating from Kindergarten.  It seems like yesterday they were born.  I remember so clearly finding out I was having triplets.  The conversation Frank and I had will never be forgotten.  We were filled with so many emotions: Fear..Love..Hope..Wonder...  We left the doctor's office that day and we were is different cars.  We were both supposed to go to work.  I said "Well, I guess I will see you after work??"  We looked at each other at the same time and said "I can't go to work."  We got in our cars and met each other at home.  We literally sat around and stared at each other for a while.  We finally decided to call both our Moms and tell them the news.

We never knew the journey we were starting.  We focused on milestones of the pregnancy.  24 weeks..28 weeks...30 weeks..32 weeks (we didn't make it).  All while listening to so much doom and gloom of how horribly wrong things could go.  The doctors NEVER sugar coated anything.  Months of bed rest.  A pump in my leg continuously releasing medicine to keep labor away.  Many, many trips to the hospital.  Scary times for sure. 

Then it happened.  Thirty one weeks and five days and Ciaran's water broke.  I was so excited to meet them but TERRIFIED for how well they would do.  We were so blessed.  They all were breathing on their own and were "big" for their gestational age.  We went directly to the NICU but we had a smooth ride.  They  were "feeders and growers".  A term they use for babies born early who just need to learn to feed and grow.  We knew each day could bring new issues but as the days passed we realized we had dodged a bullet and against a lot of odds these three little angels were going to be OK.  We breathed a sigh of relief  when we were told Cormac was coming home at 20 days.  He just needed to have his hearing test........

At first it didn't even register.  He was "referred"?? What does that mean?  Can he or can't he hear?  We were told "he was born early and might need some time to develop" or "he might have fluid in his ears"  I am sure he is fine.  "Lots of kids fail but they aren't really deaf"  As a new Mom, I believed them.  I took their word for it. BUT I did follow up as instructed.  Four weeks later we went for an ABR.  Cormac's age of listed as - 4 weeks because he still was not even supposed to be born.  The results were the same.  I was AGAIN given the same advice and told to follow up again in 4 more weeks.  We did but I also made an appointment with an ENT.  It went on from there and at just about 6 months they CONFIRMED our worse fear.  Cormac had "profound hearing loss". (never said the word deaf but that is what it means)

Our lives were instantly changed.  Things seemed so confusing. And you know what one of my FIRST thoughts was?  When they are big enough for school how could I ever send one to school alone while the other two went to school together?  I know it may seem like not a big deal to a lot of people but to me for some reason it was a huge.  I could not bare the thoughts of it.

The next few years consisted of some serious decisions and lots and lots of hard work on the part of Cormac and our family.  I was determined Cormac would start mainstream preschool with his brothers.  Others told me I should be prepared for him to get mainstreamed by Kindergarten.  That was NOT an option.  I wouldn't do it.  And Cormac did it.  He worked so hard.  He gave it his all.  His brothers endured hours of therapy along with him.  They drove the hour ride back and forth with me to Summit Speech School every day for  months.  They did their part by talking and talking and more talking.  They were all troopers.  Calleigh made the trip as well.  I was pregnant for her the Spring Cormac aged out of Early Intervention.  Then she was born and even with all she had going on Cormac finished up and he was ready.....mainstream preschool with his brothers.  I cried so many times it was ridiculous.  I still remember the conversation I had with him on the last day. I was thinking "am I doing the right thing?  Should he go to mainstream preschool?  Is he ready?"  What does Cormac say to me in the truck at that exact moment?  "Mom, look at the contrail coming out of that plane flying in the sky"  Yep, he was only just three years old.  I said to him "Cormac, I think you are going to be OK."  He said "Don't worry, Mommy, I will be fine".    That sealed the deal for me and I knew I was making the right decision.

This post is not supposed to be all about Cormac but it's hard to tell my feelings about Kindergarten without mentioning how we got there. 

So, here we are.  We are graduating mainstream Kindergarten.  The boys have grown tremendously this year.  They have learned so much.  They LOVE school.  They are excited each morning to go to school.  They thrive in school.  I was so upset they went to full day Kindergarten but it has been amazing for them.  It also gave me some much needed alone time with Calleigh.  Socially, the kids could not be better.  We worried about Cormac and Ciaran and hoped kids weren't going to be mean.  Kids can be mean and when you have two children who are wearing things on their ears it can draw some attention.  We are blessed no one has ever said anything about them except to ask what they are.  Ciaran and Cormac are both great at explaining their hearing aids and implants.  It makes me proud to watch them tell kids on the playground about them. 

Not only did we start Kindergarten but we changed schools.  Everything was new to them.  None of their preschool friends were in the class since we moved.  Big changes for little 5 year olds.  They have not skipped a beat.  They made so many new friends who I know will be friends for life.  They each have their "own" friends too.

I know I will cry tears of happiness when I see them graduate tomorrow. I know how much work it took to get them there.  I know I will once again be overwhelmed when I look up and see  three of those graduates are mine.  I know it would not have been possible without the support of family, friends and not to mention Summit Speech School.   We are forever grateful to all those who helped us along the way especially Joan, Cormac's TOD for three years.  I saw her more than I saw most of my family the first three years.  She was an integral part of his success.

You know what will always amaze me?  Cormac makes it look effortless.  He is just another kid.  It's deceiving to others who don't understand how much hard work he does every second of his life to make it appear effortless.

So, Ciaran, Colin and Cormac.  As you graduate tomorrow.  Always know how proud I am of the three of you.  Always know I love you more than anything.  Always know I learn from you every day.  Always know you inspire me.  Always know I cannot thank you enough for getting to be your Mommy.  The three of you and you amazing little sister are my greatest joy and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Look out, first come the Lawrence Brothers!!