Since Natalie was born, I have become much more familiar with many, many medical terms. I wouldn’t say I am an expert in any of them, but I am becoming an expert on her! Microtia was one of the first new ones, because it refers to a congenital deformity of the outer ear - one thing that didn’t need any further testing to confirm. ;)
She also has atresia, which is a broader medical term for an opening in the body that is abnormally closed or absent. The first time I was googling both of those terms I came across an online community for people with either condition and was amazed at the support both in their information and helpfulness on their social media pages. Plus, they have been building awareness of the conditions with a Microtia Day - complete with these adorable T-shirts!
She was doing a good job of hiding parts of the shirt every time I tried to get a photo, so I enlisted her brother’s help to show off the full shirt. Haha - it was a good attempt…
Maybe if I lay her down…? Nope! “Look at my foot instead, mom!”
It’s ok though - the girl with the pink headband and ukulele was the reason I bought the shirt anyhow! It is a bit hard to see, but she only has one ear and the title says “Microtia Kids Rock!” in a nod to the ukuleles. :)
You do rock, my baby girl!
But back to the ears! Obviously, her ears show up in a lot of photos on here, but I don’t usually take photos specifically of them. Her left ear is the side with microtia & atresia and the lack of an ear canal prevents her from having any air conductive hearing on the left. Thankfully her BAHA seems to do a great job at giving her directional hearing .
Her right side is just microtia. I was worried that her ear being a bit folded over would block sound, but that isn’t the case at all. Her ear canal is a little smaller than normal, but it also doesn’t seem to affect her hearing. When she is a bit older, there are reconstruction options as well as the permanent BAHA, but for now she is hearing great and there isn’t much to do except make sure we keep the batteries from dying on her. ;)
The ear community has get togethers pretty frequently, so hopefully we can start attending those and other hearing events so she can see what a supportive community is out there for her. Plus I hear Cochlear occasionally rents out Disney world!
In slightly less good news, furry Natalie doesn’t seem to be doing very good. She’s been not wanting to get up much the past few days, so we grabbed her soft blanket out of our bedroom and brought it downstairs for her. I can’t remember the last time she climbed up the stairs, so it makes more sense to have it down here anyhow. The boys made sure to give her a little extra loving instead of running around like their usual crazy selves. ;)
She seemed pretty comforted getting some loving from her dad. She’s always been a daddy’s girl. :)