It's been quite an emotional roller coaster for this Momma. Many people have asked how or why we discovered she needed glasses.
Back in October when Annie was a little over one, she went in for ear tube surgery and to probe through both of her extremely clogged tear ducts. Part of the process was an optometry exam before her tear duct procedure. At that point, we were told that she was a borderline candidate for glasses. We were told that all babies are born far sighted and it gradually evens out - but it was something to watch. Both procedures went well for Annie and we didn't have any concerns.
Then April 2014 came around and I was traveling for work. Cody noticed that she was blinking excessively for several days in a row without her eyes being watery, red, or swollen. It didn't appear she had any infection or anything. After nearly a week of her doing this, we called the eye doctor in Pierre to see if there was anything to be concerned about. They didn't think so, and somewhat attributed it to a new habit she formed - something interesting to do. It continued for another week, we called again, and were somewhat thinking it was allergies at that point. By mid-way through the second week, I was determined to get her in to the eye doctor. We got an appointment scheduled, but not until the middle of June.
By the time her appointment had come around, she had nearly stopped the excessive blinking entirely, but I still wanted to get it checked out so we would have another baseline to watch from our last optometry exam 6+ months before. Her appointment day came around and it was a very busy day at the office - we didn't get in until 45 minutes after out appointment, and Annie was such a good girl waiting - she visited with everyone in the office and other patients. Luckily, we have a great relationship with our eye doctor and he was very apologetic about our wait - he knew (and I told him) it was his turn to be patient with Annie. We got through her appointment with a few bribes of treats and other antics. We didn't have time to dilate her eyes, so he did a dry exam and we were to come in a few days later for the dilation and additional exam.
We came back in a few days, and dilated her eyes. Again, she was a champ the whole time. She took the spray well and we were off to buzz a few errands - unfortunately during the sunniest part of the day. And momma forgot good sunglasses. She got a pair of temporary ones from the doctors office that were adult size and WAY too big, but she wore them and looked hilarious. We were back to the office less than an hour later for a final exam.
This time, with the help of a DumDum sucker, she also looked into the refraction machine (automated vision test) really well three times with each eye, and the test showed it went as accurately as it could have. He did an additional on her himself, and the results showed the exact same results as the machine did. Indeed, Annie had a great need for a strong prescription. In terms of a scale of 1-5 does she need glasses, she was a 5+...absolutely. Admittedly, I was a bit heart broken right away. My little baby, just over 1.5 years old. And she needed glasses.
However, immediately what lifted my spirits was that he was telling me that because of the strong strength of her prescription, he had said that he highly doubted that this would be a battle to get her to wear her glasses. He told me he was very impressed that we noticed this so early and took the initiative and were persistent in getting her an appointment. He had said that usually, parents don't notice this in kids until they are around 3-4 years old when they go cross-eyed because they have been working so hard to focus. Then they are dealing with correcting the crosseye and dealing with the prescription. Luckily, we are only helping her see better and not correcting anything. Still, I wondered, how would my baby handle wearing glasses? How could we get her to keep them on? How would she feel in them? And mostly, I knew as a glasses wearer that this could be a long road ahead of her.
What was very interesting to me was that he hold me based on his original exam a few days before we did the exam after dilating, was that he said he might not have prescribed her anything. That means she was working so hard, quickly, and efficiently to correct the vision that it was hard for him to detect. The dilating acts as a truth serum, and it told the truth! It was interesting to watch him test her with putting lenses in front of her eyes and watching the reaction by shining and light and examining how she focused. (By the way, I hope no optometrists are reading, because they are all extreme lehman terms, with a frazzled mom who was trying to take all of this information in while tending to a anxious baby.)
We waited until after July 1 until we ordered glasses. Mostly for insurance purposes, but also because it was hard to find frames that both fit her small face and nose, and that I approved of. We found a "happy" medium.
We have had her glasses with lenses for about 10 days now. A whole new rollercoaster of emotions started when we went in to pick up, fit, and get her new glasses. Immediately when we put them on, I had a swell of negative emotions. Just mostly based upon looks and the fact that my baby getting glasses was real. However, within seconds, I knew this was going to change her life. She looked down, moved some papers off a placemat with advertising on it, and looked at and examined the text and photos. She stared calmly, and intently at it. Looked up, looked at all of the glasses on the wall. She looked at the gal helping us and pointed at and examined her jewelry and logo. And had a sense of amazement on her face. It took all I had to hold back tears of joy, that this truly was a life changing moment for my little girl. She got down, caught her sealegs from a new depth perception and asked to hold my hand to help her walk. We walked to a bucket of toys for her to pick out, and she examined 5-6 of them for a few moments each. In the last 10 days we have had very little struggle in getting her to keep them on. She only takes them off occasionally (a few times a day) and puts them back on within minutes. Our biggest struggle right now is finding a fit that works for her without them slipping down granny style constantly. That will be a forever process I'm sure.
Honestly, I'm still not used to her in glasses. I still love seeing her baby face in the tub and when she's sleeping without her glasses. But I'm proud and amazed by the way she's handled this. I'm so happy and relived that we discovered this so quickly. I'm blessed that this has changed her life in such a positive way. We are so lucky to have only something so minor and so easy to deal with. I know there are lots of little ones out there struggling with much more than what we are.
So that's the story. And I thank many of you who have listened to me share my emotions with over this journey.
And finally...here's the true Annie. She can give a pretty good stink eye now!
Also, apologies for the long winded post. As I've said before, this is as much of a place (if not more) for me, as it is our family and friends from around the country that follow along with us.