New Patching Routine

Patching

I have officially decided that all of the moms before me were right! As soon as you figure out what works for your baby, it’s going to change. This is especially true for those other patching parents! I thought that I had our patching routine down in the mornings! Our mornings would start bright and early. I would go get Olivia from her crib, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5am. We would get dressed, sing our patch song:

“it’s time to put our cute patch on, don’t worry it wont be on for long, its going to make our eye so strong!”

and place the eye patch on my reluctant little Olivia. Then we would start the 3-hour timer and fill our morning with all her toys, Moana, snacks and a few nap breaks. Our 3-hour patching time would turn into 5 due to a nice long 2-hour nap but by noon we were almost always finished with the patch. I count to three out loud and pull the patch off. As her eye refocuses on the world around her, the baby who was so quiet all morning and solely focused on using that ‘Nemo’ eye, all of a sudden is a bundle of life, giggles and most recently, some pretty impressive gymnastic moves – like momma like daughter I guess ☺. But of course, as soon as I got comfortable with this new normal, Olivia went through a wonderful growth spurt. Her mind has doubled in this last month and I am convinced our little warrior just became aware of what she can’t see.

Instead of spending our morning focused on toys and movies I am constantly combatting her little ninja hand from reaching up and ripping the patch off! Her little fingers are the perfect size to get under the sticky part of the patch right by her nose. With every removal attempt, she gets a little more of the sticky patch off until I look away for approximately 3 seconds – giving her enough time to put all of her might behind those two little fingers as she rips off the patch.

Now, rather than doing a long chunk of patching, our routine has changed to completing at least 90 minutes of patching as soon as she wakes up and then another 90 minutes later in the day. Today was the first day of this split of patching and Olivia was NOT a fan of double patch time throughout her day. We were able to get the full 90 minutes in the morning but only 40 minutes in the afternoon. Rather than fretting over the time not patched, I celebrate the time we did get in. I am so proud of Olivia and am in awe of her strength every single day. Despite how upset she gets when she cant see Moana dance across the screen or has to hold the books super close to her face to see the pictures, she still plays a mean game of peek a boo and rolls around with the kitty. So, you are all on this journey with me as I figure out what will work next for this strong willed patcher. She smiles the biggest, brightest smile even with her vision occluded and that reminds me that we are doing the right thing in pushing our princess and of course…to just keep patching.

Today was hard.

Patching

Today was HARD. As a result of Olivia’s PFV, she developed a cataract in her Nemo eye. In order to give her the best chance to regain some of her vision, the lens in her eye was surgically removed at just 3 months old. Since her lens was removed, Olivia must wear an artificial lens in her Nemo every day in order to let the most light in, protect her eye and give her eye the most stimulation. We have to take the lens out once every week, let her eye breath over night and then put it back in the next morning. When we first started taking the lens in and out of her eye, it was a piece of cake! Sure, she would squirm a bit – no one wants someone poking them in the eye! But we could get the lens in and out with very few tears and within a 5 minute period.

Those days..are OVER.

Now, at 9 months, Olivia has caught on. She doesn’t want us taking the lens out! She hates us putting our fingers by her eye. We have had to resort to holding down our beautiful, sweet daughter and prying her eye open in order to get the lens out. We know that taking the little piece of medical plastic out of her eye is necessary. We know that it is what is best for her. But holding her arms and legs down, and looking at that little face stare at us and just cry is excruciating. Dan and I have learned that she can smell fear and frustration. She knows that after our 17th attempt at getting the lens out we are so frustrated ,which in turn, makes her frustrated and even more upset. She is one strong willed little warrior and does whatever she can to get out of the situation she is in.

Today, we had to hold her down for 10 whole minutes. We had to watch her cry until she tired out enough that we could get her eye open just a little bit more and pull that lens out. We both walked out of the room and took turns trading off with Olivia to just cry and let it out. It is one of the hardest parts about our new normal. But we are know this contact lens is helping her in more ways than we can count and our little rock star keeps that thing in all week without rubbing at it.

Every time we work with the lens we get a little bit better at it. We know to keep that smile plastered on our faces no matter how mad we get because she knows when we arE not having fun anymore. We have learned to keep BeeBoo on and by her face to keep her even a little distracted. And we have learned that sometimes, the Puppy Pals theme song can keep her attention just long enough for us to swoop in, grab that contact and get out.

But some days. Some days are just HARD.