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Nemo Ear

My brand new daughter was born with something I like to call a "Nemo Ear." I named her ear the Nemo Ear because of the movie Finding Nemo. If you have seen the movie, you may recall, Nemo is a clown fish with a smaller fin on one side of his body. My daughter has the exact thing but it's not a fin, it's her ear.

When I met my daughter in the operating room for the first time, the doctor not only showed me the faux hawk she made with her hair, but she showed me her normal left ear and her smaller right ear. I recall the doctor saying something about her ear being smaller and there was a lot of "tissue" on the small ear. Her right ear is smaller than her left ear, and somewhat deformed. There is no opening to the ear canal, therefore she cannot hear.

It took me a while to get upset about this situation/her ear condition. I think it was a few days after I delivered her and we were at home when the "baby blues" set in and a few times I cried about my daughter not having a normal ear. But for the most part, I wasn't upset. It is what it is and I haven't talked about it with many peopole because we are working with ear, nose and throat doctors and plastic surgeons to figure out a plan.

I think the hardest part for me was Christmas day when my husband presented me and our six day old daughter with a pair of diamond earrings! I've been teasing my sister for three years that I was going to pierce her daughter's ears, so my husband knows how badly I want my baby to have her ears pierced. Receiving the diamond earrings made me realize she may not be able to have her ears pierced for a while.

We met with a plastic surgeon and ENT doctor while in the hosptial and have since had a hearing test at U of M. The ENT doctor informed us the outside of the ear is the last to form, so he is 90% sure the inner structures of the ear are there and working. The plastic surgeon said she has Microtia which means "small ear." The plastic surgeon said they will not rebuild an ear until she is seven, because at that age, the ear is usually the size of an adult ear. He said her lobe is great and usable and this is a very good thing because the ear lobe is one of the hardest things to re-create. The plastic surgeon also put a piece of tape on her ear. We have to keep it on her ear for four weeks, then visit the doctor again. The purpose is simply to keep the ear flat against her head, so as she ages, it doesn't stick out. Honestly, that's the least of my worries. I just want to be sure she can hear!

She had a hearing test at U of M and we were told her inner ear can hear bone vibrations, which means that if sound could get in, she could probably hear. We met with a doctor at U of M and found out our short term options are to have hearing tests every six months for a few years and a genetics test to rule out any kidney disorder which is commonly associated with this condition.

Long term, she will have a CAT scan around age 3 or 4. This will determine what is actually inside the ear. She most likely will not have any sort of surgery until she is 7 and they would open the ear canal and reconstruct an ear at that time.

As for hearing, she will probably be fine because her left ear can hear fine. She probably won't have any balance issues or speech issues and she won't get an ear infection in her right ear. Overall she will be fine. And I'll continue to update everyone if we find out any additional information.

To lighten things up a little bit...At least while she has the tape on her ear, it's hat season!

Comments

She's perfect just the way she is!

I agree Heather, she is a perfect princess. I've never met Rachel but I've never met baby that wasn't absolutely precious so I can't imagine she'd be anything else but that. Kari, the baby blues will go away in a couple more weeks. Congrats to your husband for hanging in there with you (I think it's almost just as hard on the guys).

And remember the two things that I always say since we learned this:

1. She won't be listening to us in a couple years, so this isn't such a big deal.

2. We are going to save a boatload on ear plugs at the race track having to buy only half as much for a while!

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