Monday, April 18, 2011

In the Eye of the Beholder

I have so much to tell you all... But I thought that I better start with Olive since she is the most exciting thing going on right now.
My labor and delivery experience this time was amazing, it was exactly what I hoped for. I had been having regular contractions for a few days, 3-5 minutes apart but never getting stronger. I had my weekly checkup on Monday and I was 3cm dilated. The pain in my pelvis was excruciating and I could barely walk because of it. My doctor decided that baby was getting big enough that she was concerned about my ability to deliver if we waited much longer so she asked me to come to be checked at the hospital on Thursday. We got there at about 7:00 am and I was 3-4 cm and fully effaced so they decided to break my water and things took off all on their own. I got a bit uncomfortable and asked for some pain medication. I was offered an epidural and I accepted even though I wasn't too terribly uncomfortable (I knew what was coming). Unfortunately it didn't work at all "down there." About an hour after I got my epidural I was complete. I went from 7-10 cm in about 10 minutes, I pushed for 10 minutes and she was out with only a tiny tear and no stitches needed. I asked to hold her skin to skin right away and got to hold her on my chest that way for about 20 minutes immediately after birth, it was so amazing.
Shortly after she was born, I remember hearing Sean say that there was something wrong with her eye but I was still still taking in the amazing thing that had just happened and I didn't process what he said at all. The next day I noticed something was a little off about her right eye but I ignored it, hoping that it was just my imagination. On Saturday morning the hospital pediatrician came by and I asked him about it, he had to go look up what it was and told me it likely just cosmetic. About a week later we went to our regular pediatrician for a checkup and he told us she had a coloboma and that we needed to see a pediatric opthamologist right away. I was freaked out, seriously... So much that I didn't even google it. Ok, I did but I only read one article that described the different types of Coloboma, I was confused and tried to ignore it again, but I did learn that it can affect different structures of the eye and that it could be only cosmetic as long as it didn't affect the retina.I held it together until the morning of the appointment, when I finally broke down in fear of what it could all mean for her. I finally let myself wonder what it would mean if she was blind. Thankfully my mom was with me and kept me as sane as possible.
The doctor we saw was wonderful, he was so gentle that she never even woke up during the exam. They gave her drops to dilate her eyes so that he could see inside of her eyes. I was not at all prepared to hear that she had a coloboma in both eyes, and it affected the retina in both eyes. The left is minor and you can't see anything from the outside but the right one is severe. She is missing about 20% of the muscle that controls the dilation of the eye as well as the retina. However, the defect missed the optical nerve. Miraculously, she is going to be able to see just fine. With such a large coloboma, she is very very lucky to have her vision. Her right pupil is sort of "keyhole" shaped instead of round, she will likely be sensitive to light since it can not expand and contract like a normal pupil and she is at risk of retinal detachment if she were ever to be hit in the eye. She does have a blind spot, but it is in an area that is covered by the peripheral vision of the left eye.
For now, we keep the lights low in the house and try to shield her from any bright sunlight. We will have to make sure she always has sunglasses while she's outside and she will need to wear some sort of protective eyewear during any activities where she could potentially be hit in the eye, but the impact on her life will be relatively minor. My biggest worry now is cruel kids and/or insensitive adults making comments about her eye, but we will try to teach her to let those things roll right off her back. She is beautiful and unique and we love her just the same. I tried to get a picture but I wasn't really able to get a good one of her, this is a google image of a coloboma but Olive's is quite a bit more severe:


Nichole said...

Hug to you! Glad to hear that she can see though. :o)

Sheila said...

aww! :(
She is beautiful! And as long as she will still have sight - that's whats important!
Hopefully most kids won't even notice, when she gets older.

Lyndsay said...

Oh that must have been so scary! I'm glad that she will be okay. I've never heard of coloboma, but now that I see the picture I realize that I had a friend with a pupil like that. I don't remember it impacting her life at all.

Munchie has a birthmark on her face that I'm sure will cause her to be teased eventually. So far it's been okay... once a kid told her that her face looked dirty. I'm worried about what will happen when she loses the naive, self-confidence of being 6 and becomes more sensitive to the comments of her peers.

Oh and some more pictures please.

Brandy@YDK said...

i'm glad that she will have sight. that's so scary. i'm sorry that you have to deal with this.