We've had a busy past couple of days! Yesterday, TongJie had appointments at Seattle Children's Hospital from 9:45 to about 2:30. We saw an audiologist, a pediatrician, a dietitian, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), a craniofacial nurse, and an occupational therapist. Whew! Mainly, the purpose of this visit was for a checkup with TongJie's growth to see if he's making enough progress to schedule his palate surgery, and also to determine if he needs ear tubes put in at the time of the surgery. The answers to both questions were yes, so we're glad we got that figured out. The best news is that TongJie has been growing well, which is what we were hoping for. His height and weight both went up from where they were at his last appointment, which was below the first percentile. Now he weighs 21 lb, 7 oz, which puts him in about the 4th percentile, and he's 30.8" tall, which puts him almost to the 2nd percentile. His weight for height is now in the 31st percentile, which is a huge improvement from before, and right about where it should be. We got the impression that they're still a bit concerned about his height, but later when we saw our pediatrician he said that it's pretty normal that he's gaining more weight first and he'll probably spurt up in height pretty soon. His palate surgery will be scheduled for the fall sometime, but we haven't got an exact date yet.
In addition to the growth and diet stuff, the audiologist determined that it appears TongJie has some hearing loss and his eardrums aren't vibrating like they should be, most likely due to fluid behind them. This is very common for people with a cleft palate, so it's pretty much what we were expecting. Getting tubes in his ears should help a lot. The ENT doc said what he is experiencing with his hearing is similar to what it would be like for you or I to have earplugs in constantly - the sounds are muffled but he can still hear, although he can hear better in a quiet environment than he can when there is a lot of background noise.
TongJie fell asleep for about 20 minutes before our lunch break, but then he was more chipper for the appointments in the afternoon, after he'd had a little power nap and eaten some lunch. After finishing up at Children's, we had an appointment with Dr. Davies at the UW medical center at 3:30. Needless to say, it was a long day . . . but TongJie was a trooper! We really like Dr. Davies and he had a lot of positive things to say about TongJie's growth and development. He said he's glad to see TongJie getting a "buddha belly." Dr. Davies' nurse weighed TongJie with his diaper and all his clothes on, plus it was after he ate a lot, so he weighed 22 lbs at the UW appointment which put him up into an even higher percentile, but I suppose the weight where he was naked was a little more accurate.
It was amazing so see the difference in TongJie's disposition at his appointments this time around compared to May 21 and 22, when we were there last time! Everyone was commenting about how happy he was. It sure made the trip much more enjoyable to have a happy kiddo instead of a distraught crying one. He did have to get more blood drawn, and of course that was not a fun experience, but he recovered quickly. I forgot to bring the camera when we went to Children's and UW, so we don't have any pictures of that.
We were so blessed to have the opportunity to stay with our friends Doug and Erika who have a little guest cottage that they generously offered for us to stay in. They have two boys, and TongJie is between the ages of the two boys, so it was fun to interact with them a little bit. And of course TongJie loved playing with their toys! And he did a great job sleeping in his Pack and Play away from home and in a different environment. Here are a couple of pictures of him (wearing his pajamas and his hat) in the guest cottage where we stayed.
We also had the opportunity to visit with some other dear friends, Kenny and Charity, and to meet their new little girl who was born in May. We really enjoyed getting to catch up with them and had a great time!
Today is our 8th anniversary, so we celebrated by stopping at REI on the way home. That was pretty fun. Too bad nice outdoor gear is so expensive. It was fun to look around though, and we did buy one pair of shorts. Here's a picture of Jeff and TongJie at the REI store.
We got back home from our little trip today, and it sure is nice to be home. I guess we're the type of people who enjoy being at home and don't like to be away that much. But it was a fun trip, nonetheless.
Here are a couple of other pictures from a few days ago: TongJie wearing my gardening gloves, and showing off his "buddha belly" while chilling on the couch with Jeff and Albert.