Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 9th, 2008

Eyes update:

We made it safely to the hospital last night around 8:30pm.

Both babies recovered quickly from surgery today. They were off their ventilators in under 30 minutes. Carver was scheduled for surgery this morning at 9:30am. We received good news on Carver. He doesn't need any more surgery at this time. The right retina is completely attached. There is very little scarring. I'm told to expect best case vision in this eye of 20/50 corrected. The left retina is attached at the edges, but not in the center. There is still fluid under the retina causing the center to be detached. The tear appears to still be sealed. The sponge is still in place and doing its job. As Carver grows, the sponge will push more against the back of eye wall causing the retina to flatten more. This should help the retina attach later. However, this could take a long time. In the mean time, the brain favors the right eye and is doing little to none with the left eye. The eye does have some vision. He will be able to see light, dark, colors and objects. However, the vision will lack clarity. His best case vision in this eye will be 20/400 corrected. This is classified as legally blind. But, it only takes one good eye to see. So, we're in good shape.

Kinnick was scheduled for surgery this morning at 11:30am. She got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the retina on the left is 50-60% attached. The remainder of the retina is folded (dry fold). They can not "unfold" the retina. However, the 50-60% that is attached will give her vision. Not good vision, but vision. At best case 20/400 vision like Carver's left eye. Prior to surgery, she wasn't seeing out of the left eye because a membrane formed under the iris. They removed the membrane today, so this should now give her better vision in this eye. The bad news is that the retina on the right will require the same procedure that Carver went through last September. The right retina is detached and torn. The surgery will involve removing the vitreous gel (fluid that makes up 2/3 of the eye) and replacing it with silicone oil. To do this, they have to take blood from mom or dad (requires a lot of blood - the baby doesn't have enough to give for the surgery). They wash the blood for specific enzymes (this takes 3 days). Once the blood is washed, they inject the enzymes into the eye. This does something to help separate the vitreous gel from the retina. In babies, the vitreous gel is the consistency of egg whites - very sticky. It's difficult to remove the gel without tearing or damaging the retina. They will also stitch a silicone sponge to the back of her eye. The sponge and the silicone oil will "sandwich" the retina. This will help the retina flatten allowing it to heal and re-attach. Then an encircling silicone band will be sewn around the circumference of her eye. This will help hold everything together. This is not a fun procedure. Carver suffered a great deal when he had this procedure done. This surgery will take place Monday. The date had to be moved due to the time it takes to wash the blood. Please pray that she doesn't suffer much, the surgery goes well, and she recovers quickly. It's going to break my heart to see her suffer to recover from this surgery. She has been through so much. Her best case vision after surgery will be 20/400 in this eye. I know this doesn't sound like much, but this will allow her to move about without running into things.

What is the meaning of 20/50, and 20/400 vision? If your vision is 20/50, it means that someone with normal vision can see an object 50 feet away, while you have to move up to 20 feet from the object in order to see it. If your vision is 20/400, a person with normal vision can see an object 400 feet away, while you have to move up to 20 feet away from the object in order to see it. 20/400 vision is much like an unfocused camera - very blurry. Most babies start out with 20/400 vision. They gain full vision by the time they are 6 months old.

There have been so many decisions to be made throughout Kinnick and Carver's lives. Most of the decisions are very painful and you never know for sure if you've made the right choice. In addition, many of the decisions have to be made within minutes. It is difficult to tell if decisions are made out of selfishness or what is truly right for the babies. I always try to put myself in my children's shoes and ask myself what I would want done. I pray that I'm making all the right choices for my babies. It has been very difficult.


Anonymous said...

Parents of preemies do have to make some of the most difficult decisions. It just doesn't seem fair. I remember being in full blown labor and having to make the most crucial decisions of my life. As parents, we just want what is best for our children. . .even when we don't know what that is. You are just amazing to me and have helped me so much throughout this very difficult journey. Thank you and, as always, you are all in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

We will be praying for peace about all the decisions you have had to make! Kinnick and Carver are so blessed to have a mother who is willing to fight for them in so many ways!