Six days and counting since our baby girl went in for eye surgery and I’ve been excited to share all the great changes we’ve seen already in sweet Mya. Although we won’t have true results of the surgery for several more weeks, what we’ve seen already is so promising and Mya has handled this event so, so well.
Before we get into this little lady’s 11 month update, here’s the scoop on Mya’s eye surgery: what she was diagnosed with, what the surgery entailed, what we’ve dealt with recovery, and what is yet to come.
When Mya turned six months old and was still dealing with both eyes turning inwards, we were referred by our pediatrician to our KC Children’s Mercy for further intervention. We saw an optometrist, an orthoptist, one eye surgeon (awful! Enter: second opinion), and then our wonderful eye surgeon who performed her surgery last week. At each appointment, there was a lot of testing to see how her eyes focused, turned, lifted, dilated, saw close, saw far away, etc. Truly, the work of angels to get a 6-10 month old to focus and not rip every toy away from her face.
After multiple rounds of appointments, she was finally diagnosed with Infantile Esotropia in both eyes. She was born with her medial rectus (inner eye muscles) pulled too tight, preventing her eyes from turning outwards. She also cross-fixated which means that when she was looking at objects on her left, she looked with her right eye. Objects on her right side, she looked at with only her left eye. The only solution was eye surgery.
This surgery was to remove the medial rectus muscles off her eyes and move them back a full 6mm and reattach. This would allow for her eyes to have more ability for a full range of motion, limiting the need for cross fixation.
Prior to this surgery, we worked our behinds off keeping Mya nice and healthy because this was the first time she was going to have any form of anesthesia. We don’t necessarily have a family history of issues with anesthesia, but I wasn’t going to send Mya in with even the slightest of runny noses. So after a month of yelling, “WASH YOUR HANDS!” and a negative COVID test (required), we were ready.
Once we got the call two days prior to surgery, we were told we had an 8:45am check-in and she wasn’t able to eat any food or bottles after 1:30am, clear liquids until 6:30am.
The actual surgery was 105 minutes, roughly 30 minutes per eye and enough time for anesthesia to do what they needed to do before and after. Since she was so little, anesthesia used a face mask with flavored air to drift her off to sleep before inserting an IV into her foot. When the surgeon was finished with the procedure, she was able to come speak with Jerod and I and tell us exactly how successful she was. The relief of having her walk through the waiting room doors will never be diminished. Her feeling confident enough to walk away from our daughter will forever be a relief to me.
Recovery took about 45 minutes for her to start slowly waking out of her anesthetic. Jerod and I were able to go back, hold her, let her slowly wake in my arms, and give her the first bottle of the day. All the recovery nurses told us that leaving was truly on our terms, but to take it slow. Mya wasn’t real awake, but was obviously hungry so took down a bottle and she.was.ready. There wasn’t even that much protest about being put in her car seat again. You could tell she was over the whole experience and just wanted to cuddle in the safety of her home. And we were feeling just the same.
Looking back now (hindsight is 20/20, right!?), I realize that the day of surgery was an event because of the terror of anesthesia and all the risks associated with the actual procedure, but it all becomes so very real when you are caring for a little babe after you get home. With eye surgery, our main concern was always infection. Eyes do not handle infection well. She’s 10 months old, meaning Mya is crawling everywhere, putting her hands on everything, eating with her fingers, and grabbing at just about anything she can, whether it be dirt from a flower pot or a piece of food under our kitchen chairs. Then on top of that, she sucks her thumb and rubs the bridge of her nose with her fingers. When you’re told to keep her hands clean and away from her face, this all becomes much more of an issue. 🙂
Days 2-5 were our highest risk of infection and we’ve now sailed through those days with no issue whatsoever. We almost see the end in sight and feel like maybe over the next few days, we can sigh that collaborative sigh of relief.
We’ve already had our first follow-up appointment with our surgeon and she is very happy with what we are seeing at this point. She’s made it clear, however, that we will see some temporary changes in her eye alignment over the next few weeks because her brain is now trying to play catch-up with the mechanical changes that they did with surgery. At this point, her brain has functioned with only one eye at a time. Now, post-surgery, it’s learning for the first time how to use her eyes together, at the same time, and at a full range of motion. It’s all very much a learning curve for her brain so a perfect result just isn’t expected just yet.
From what we can see, BOTH eyes have been able to move fully outward for the first time ever. Let me repeat…she can move her eyes from side to side for the first time EVER. Mya’s eyes work in unison. There is no drifting upwards or floating happening. It was two hours away from me, and suddenly, her world has changed.
There is a very slight turn in on her left eye that is just ever so subtle. I would say 90% of the time, her eyes are completely centered and straight. The other 10%, her left eye turns in just a tad. We saw it and the surgeon saw it. Yes, we are only one week out from her surgery so we aren’t worried, but our doctor wants to be more proactive about it. She believes that her right eye is still her dominant eye and her left needs a little more strengthening. So it’s patching time again! Just one hour every day for the next five weeks until her next follow-up appointment.
If I can see those beautiful eyes in these sweet patches for a few more weeks, I’m a-okay with that!
We did it. We had our sweet 10-month old put through a lot this past 7 days, but she’s changed forever. No longer will every conversation start with her crossed eyes. No longer will I worry that her vision is doubled, that she’s dealing with headaches or not seeing clearly. No longer will I have to worry that there is something major underlying that we aren’t finding yet.
We went through a lot to get here, but we are here, she is well, and she is a fighter.
11 Month Update
I’ll keep this one short and sweet because let’s be real, I’ve already written a lot and this little girl hasn’t changed much for months. If you want to read up more on Mya and just what her schedule, feeding, or sleep looks like, check out my 10 month update HERE!
We are still sleeping about 12 hours a night, two naps a day for about 2 hours each.
She eats almost everything in front of her, and loves her snacks. She’s settled into early toddlerhood real well with that one!
But now for the good stuff…
All About Mya
- When we got a call about our surgery details, the nurse told me Mya could bring a lovey or something comforting to take with her as she’s wheeled back to surgery. This made me realize the biggest comforts in Mya’s life are her thumb, me, and our dog, KC. No loveys for this one!
- Mya is standing on her own for short bursts of a second or two on a pretty consistent basis now.
- One day she just crawled over to her walker, stood up on it, and started to walk with it. She’s never looked back. She cruises with her walker every chance she can get!
- Mya attempts to repeat most all words now. She says “night night,” “love you,” “mama,” “dada,” “boo,” “good girl,” “KC,” “doggy,” and “boom.”
- I’ve gotten her hair in a set of pig tails, but then quickly was shot down when Jackson told me she looked like a reindeer. 🤨
- She’s nuts. Her favorite thing to do is climb onto something and then hurl herself backwards. Most times it’s with the safety of me behind her or on a soft bed. However, that’s not always the case. Wasn’t it supposed to be less chaotic and more calm with a girl?!
- Mya love her girly things. Wears bows, picks out pink and purple clothes every single time from her closet, and doesn’t mind her hair being done.
- She will still fall asleep in my arms for naps and bedtimes if I rock with her. The cuddles haven’t stopped and I hope they never will.
- The boys love her, she loves them, and I couldn’t imagine this family without our very favorite third. She’s the perfect close to our family and I thank God every single day for her. I’m so very, very lucky.
Happy 11 months, my sweet girl. I love you beyond words.