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Thomas Dean {3 Months & Contacts Update}

What a big month we’ve had with our littlest man! On October 6, Thomas had his left eye cataract removal surgery and it could not have gone smoother. We’ve been getting better each day administering the eye drops too and hoped this would be an indicator of our comfort level with contacts.

We were allowed to send one personal item back into surgery with Thomas, so all week long I slept with his Hope the Hippo lovey from the sweet girls at Bella Tunno. It made us feel better knowing he had something that reminded him of us during such a scary procedure.

A week later we had our first follow up visit where we received fantastic news — Thomas would receive his first set of contacts in a week (much earlier than we had anticipated)! We were ELATED over the idea of Thomas being able to see for the first time! That week couldn’t pass quick enough…

Fast forward to what we thought would be the very best day of our lives — CONTACT DAY! We opted for the first appointment of the day and anxiously arrived early. Prior to the appointment we both charged up our phones and made tons of room for videos! We couldn’t sleep the night before either. I made a list of all the places I wanted to show Thomas after his appointment which included a walk around the neighborhood, daycare to SEE his sister right away and more!

The appointment turned out to be nothing like we had expected. First, it took over an hour to even get the contacts into Thomas’ eyes (and this was a contact specialist doing it!!!!). With each failed attempt my anxiety about putting these in myself was skyrocketing. Over and over again he’d squeeze his eye shut, shake his head or blink. It was extremely frustrating. But the worst part was once the contacts were actually in…the moment we had all been waiting for…was devastating. Thomas looked completely confused and uncomfortable. He showed us no signs of seeing anything and Matt and I were completely rocked. We asked the doctor what we could expect Thomas to see with his new contacts and he explained to us that the contacts were just beginning to signal to his brain to start turning on his vision. Like a very old, slow computer, it would take quite awhile for his brain to tell his eyes to see. WHAT?! Why didn’t anyone tell us that? The contact lady must have thought we were absolutely nuts filming Thomas getting his contacts in. Needless to say, we were pretty frustrated, heartbroken and I was angry!!!!! So how long until his eyes would “turn on?!” was our next question which was answered with an even more vague response…”We don’t know — weeks, months, years or never. Until he turns 3 years old and can read an eye chart we have no way of measuring his eye sight.”

A few minutes later we were sent back to the waiting area until they were ready to have us back for the exam portion of our appointment. Fifteen steps later we were impatiently sitting in the waiting room when I looked down and noticed one of the contacts had already fallen out. I ran back to the contact room and immediately informed the lady that we lost one and needed a new one. It was then that she told us that she did not have a backup pair (SERIOUSLY?!?!) and that we’d need to search the floor to find it. More than 75% of the staff got on their hands and knees to search the carpet, look through my clothes, Thomas’ clothes, Matt’s clothes, exam rooms and places we didn’t even go. It was gone. Just like that we lost our very first contact. And don’t worry, they still made sure to bill us the $200 for the lost contact. I refused to leave without a replacement contact so the contact lady found a random temporary contact to try. And since it was a random backup contact it does not fit AT ALL and slides all around his eye and gets stuck under his eye lid most of the time…which means one eye is not getting enough contact attention right now.  Our next set to try doesn’t arrive until Friday. Why we can’t try on 435439546 at once is a question I still don’t understand the answer to.

So what does this contact journey look like from here? Well, terrible to be honest! The doctor explained to us that from here on out we will need to come in WEEKLY to try a new set of contacts. Each week he will refine the measurements (curvature, diameter, prescription, etc.) and order a new set in hopes that it will fit a bit better until it’s perfect. If that doesn’t sound complicated enough, he also told us that infant eyes grow exceptionally fast so he’ll likely outgrow his contact every 3 weeks anyway even if they nail the fit right away.

Soooo, I am not okay with this! Not in the slightest. My surgery is just a few days away now and I feel extremely uncomfortable with Thomas’ contact situation.

But there’s a huge blessing out of all of this! Always got to find the blessing, right?! As soon as we found out about Thomas’ cataracts diagnosis I posted to a local Charlotte mom group asking for pediatric ophthalmologist recommendations and was connected immediately with another (and probably ONLY) mom in Charlotte going through this same infant cataract surgery and contact journey! Crazy, right? God sure knows how to place people in my life during the right times! She has a 7 month old boy and has been an absolute blessing. We text all the time, she lets me vent my frustrations, answers my lists of questions, checks in on us often and gives us advice!

After I told her about our contact appointment she quickly put me in touch with an amazing pediatric optometrist at Duke, which is just a few hours away! This doctor books up months in advance so the first available appointment we could get for Thomas was January 6. However, this sweet Charlotte mommy reached out to the doctor directly and explained our situation. Within a few hours we got a call back from the doctor informing us that she can see us on November 10!!!!!!! Praise the Lord! So just a few weeks after surgery Matt and I will be taking Thomas on a day trip to Duke to hopefully get fitted correctly for a set of contacts by an experienced pediatric optometrist who actually specializes in infant contacts! Hooray! 

On to other fun three month stuff…

Three Month Highlights:

  • 12 lbs, maybe more!
  • Eating 6 ounces of Earths Best Formula every 3 hours during the day. Taking last bottle at 8 pm and sleeping in pack & play through the night! We kicked Caroline out of our room to sleep in her crib around one month
    old but I think Thomas will stay with us until he goes to college.
  • Using up the last of the size 1 diapers 
  • 3 months clothing fitting snug
  • Having the hardest time pooping!
  • Sitting in the bumbo seat more often.
  • Working on the flat spot on the back of the head with more sitting exercises and using the Noggin Nest 
  • Is the snottiest baby of all time. We have to use the snotsucker and saline daily. 
  • Baptized!
  • Smiles all the time! And getting close to giggling.
  • Cataract surgery on left eye complete!
  • Received first pair of contacts! 
  • Appointment scheduled at Duke for November 10! 

Three month favorites: Activity Gym / Infant GownsJJ Cole Agility Carrier
Snuza Baby Movement Monitor / Mustela PhysiObebe No Rinse Cleanser /
Dohm Sound MachineMicrowave Steamer Sterilizer / Wubanub / Boppy Lounger / Sheet SaversAden & Anais Swaddle Blankets / Summer Infant SwaddleMe Swaddles / Nose Frida / Bumbo Seat / Noggin Nest

Thomas & Caroline at three months



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Stephanie Chalk

Friday 6th of November 2015

Oh my goodness gracious, I am so sorry to hear about your experience! You are absolutely right though, people are placed in our lives for a special reason! Xo, Stephanie


Monday 26th of October 2015

Wow! How frustrating. Honestly, I don't know how you're keeping it together with so much going on. Praying!


Friday 23rd of October 2015

I hope these words are encouraging, since I've followed your blog for years.I taught a very intelligent and promising young man for two years in Charlotte, and it sounds like Thomas is going through very similar things to the obstacles that he overcame (let's call him Adam). By the time I met Adam as a junior, he'd already had the surgery to implant lenses (is that right?) after years of contacts and other surgeries. Before this, Adam had been considered legally blind, though he did have some sight, and he used accommodations at school. This did not slow him down! As I said, he's a highly intelligent young man and active, as well. From what I learned through meetings and talking to him and his parents (who are such lovely people, you might even have already met them), his teenage surgery was extremely successful in restoring his sight. While Adam still had accommodations like standard-sized or larger print, the use of e-readers, and seating requirements, by the time he was in my classroom, he was just like any other student with less than perfect vision (and I can relate!). He was one of my best students and graduated at the top of his class just last spring. As stressful and frustrating as this is right now, there is plenty of hope for the future. And keep in mind that Thomas is going through this 18 years after Adam, so it might be a lot better overall. It seems like your baby is in the best hands possible.

Jennifer Almarine Beu

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

His appointment sounds incredibly frustrating! It sounds like things are looking up though. What a blessing to have found someone close by with whom you can relate!

Wlp W

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

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