Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Elsa's Eyes

Today she babbled her head off. 
And if she could get her body to cooperate she would be thrilled to race across the room. 
She loves music. 
She is starting to wave bye bye and lift her arms when she wants to be held. 
Every single time she takes a bite she says "mmmmm."

It doesn't seem that long ago that Elsa was a tiny new born baby...well tiny in our giant Kurtzer baby world...weighing in at barely over 8 pounds.

She let everyone know her opinion about being born with the loudest protests of any of my babies and for the first few months held a grudge.  But things have settled down a lot for all of us and now she is most content.

Elsa's life has been a roller coaster ride.  If I could pour out every emotion that I have felt during this short time, it just might fill up the world wide web.  Gratitude, fear, joy, and sorrow...a million others beside.  But as the reality of who she is becoming emerges daily, a steady peace takes rest in our hearts.

The first sign of issues with Elsa's eyes was during our Doctor's routine exam before we would be dismissed from the hospital.  He gently checked her over from head to toe, then spent a lot of time trying to get a good red eye reflection by shining a light into her eyes.  She really clenched those tiny eyes tight and didn't give him a good view, but he told us he was concerned that Elsa had cataracts in both. 

We went back in a few days, and met with our doctor and his brother who is an opthalmologist.  Our fears were confirmed and we were referred to Children's Hospital within the week.

Our trip there led us to Dr. Braverman, who indicated that Elsa did have very dense cataracts that if not removed would result in complete blindness.  Surgery was scheduled just after she turned one month.  At that time they took out the completely white lenses in the back of her eyes, allowing light to get back to her optic nerve. Elsa is aphakic which means the lenses were not replaced. She was also diagnosed with microphthalmia, meaning her eyes were very small and underdeveloped.

The way her eyes are put together, along with the nature of her eye surgeries, Elsa is at risk for glaucoma.  She has to have an exam under anesthesia every three months.  The last exam showed that some cells from her cataract lens had regrown and blocked some of her vision in the left eye and there was a lot of scar tissue.  A few weeks ago they took that out and we can see lots of improvement.  We go in again this week to get the right eye cleaned up. 

We are so thankful for the vision that Elsa has and how it continues to develop.  With her glasses on she can see about eighteen inches in front of her.  Lights are easier for her to see, and she checks out every fixture in every place we go. 

It is hard to predict how much Elsa will see as she grows up.  As our doctor has said, "That is the million dollar question!"  But we hold on to the hope that medical developments are happening every single day, knowing full well that life is so much more than what meets the eye.


  1. She's so beautiful! It is quite a journey, isn't it?
    Hanna is always checking out all the lights everywhere we go too. I'm glad Elsa has some vision, but it must be hard going so frequently for those exams. :(
    She's a keeper tho! :D

  2. I stumbled across your blog somehow...I'm in the midst of a panic as I sit here 18-weeks pregnant because I was born with a vision impairment (PHPV) and while completely blind only in my left eye, I worry about the babe waiting to hatch and praying that the vision in it's eyes are spared! But i'm gently reminded, that even if it isn't, that baby's are still such an amazing thing...and that vision is important to parents (who doesn't want their kid to have everything) that babies take what they are given and thrive (yes, i spent most of my early years patched and bumping into things, I just thought it was normal!) Love your blog!

  3. My fifteen year old daughter had the same problem when she was Elsa age and my daughter still has a little problems with her sight but Elsa different