Last Wednesday we brought our hungry, sleepy boy to BC Children's hospital for our 5th (yes - FIFTH!) sedated hearing test appointment and an amazing thing happened. The test. It happened. And, AND… it worked!
The test confirmed the results from the booth a week earlier. H still has moderate-severe hearing loss in his left ear and now has mild hearing loss in his right ear.
My immediate reaction was relief and joy that this chapter was finally coming to a close. We can now move on with hearing aids, and very likely we'll never need to drug H up to test his hearing again. Thank goodness.
But here I am a week later, sinking into sadness a bit because while I'm so excited to get H his hearing aids, H is getting hearing aids. You know? And that sucks. Can I just take a moment to say that? I work, work, work, so hard, all the time, to remind myself of all the good in this situation. That his hearing loss was caught early. That we have so much support. That the outcomes are so good these days. That the technology is so amazing. And I try never to compare our situation with anyone else, because everyone has struggles. And it could just be so much worse. If I didn't already know that, my many hours spent at Children's Hospital have drilled that into my heart.
Still, as I face the next hurdle of learing about hearing aids and trying to get a busy toddler to actually wear hearing aids, all I can feel right now is, this sucks. And so I'm going to give myself this week, to kick and scream and drag my heels and whine 'But I don't want to doooooooooo this'. And then somehow, I'm going to turn that off. Because you had better believe that when I get those zebra striped devices in my hands there will only be joy and excitement on my face for H to see. No doubt, he will have his own moments of 'this sucks'. Probably he'll have quite a few. And it's my deepest hope that it won't be such hard work for him to see the bright side.
Last night while giving H a bath, this conversation took place.
Me: "Where is your head?" (he points to his head)
Me: "Where is your ear?" (he points to his ear)
Me: "What sound does a monkey make?"
H: "Ee ee ee"
Me: "what sound does a dog make?
H: "oof oof"
Me: "What sound does a sheep make"
H: long pause "BAA!"
Probably for most 16 months olds this is no big deal. But I feel like throwing a parade! This week H also started walking and saying hi and bye. It feels like he transformed from a baby to a toddler in the span of a week.
It has now been just over a month since H had ear tube surgery to drain the fluid from his ears that was making it so that we could't move on with hearing tests and aids. I had reached my breaking point, literally, three hours before the phone call came that they had a spot for him in surgery in TWO DAYS! Never doubt the power of a mother's tears, I say.
We knew it was quite likely that the fluid was making his hearing worse, but it wasn't immediately noticible that he was hearing better after surgery. However, little by little he started reacting to ambient noise - the dishwasher, coffee grinder, a leaf blower next door. And now he's started responding to questions and adding new words.
H also had a booth hearing test which he completely rocked. Seriously, he gave very consistent results (though unfortunately not complete - we go back for what is *fingers crossed* our last sedated test this week). The news seems to be that right now his 'good ear' is at a mild loss. It was really interesting to be in the booth with him and see what he does and doesn't react to. He responded to very quiet talking, but the 'Shhhh' static-y noise had to be quite loud before he would react.
I can't tell you what a relief it is to know that he hears me when I speak to him in a normal talking voice, even if he might be missing sounds here and there. That was something I didn't even realize I was missing. I had completed a questionnaire when he first started speech therapy where I could only say for sure that he understood one word, ball, because that was all he said. I didn't even know if he knew his name. Well, he definitely knows it now. I can't wait until he gets his hearing aids and we can finally know that he is hearing all that he can.
Oh resolutions. I have so many this year. Cut down on my coffee intake, which I confess has gotten a bit out of hand (she says while sipping her third cup of coffee of the morning, ahem). Start taking my own lunch to work instead of buying stuff (0/3 on that one). Cut back on sugary foods (so far there hasn't yet been a baking free day of '13). Clean out my drawer. You know that drawer? The one where you shove every semi-important letter and whoseamawhatsit.
So, with all this failure there is one resolution that I'm super pumped about. I'm going to run the Sun Run. So far I've gone on two runs and I'm loving it! I'm doing this program, which I used a few years ago when I ran the 10K. The great thing about it is that it starts out suuuper slow, so that you end every run feeling like 'I want to do more'. What I figured out about running last time I did it was that I used to push myself too fast/too soon and so it was painful to run. I need to slow my pace way down and take it easy, then it's actually enjoyable. And somehow, after doing this program I ended up being able to run 10K in just over an hour, which for me was amazing.
Now, it's disclaimer time. I did have this resolution last year and it was a flop. I gave up after one run and just walked the 10K. I was expecting the first run to feel similar to last year, when every step made it feel like I had to pee/my insides were going to fall out. Turns out there's a big difference to running when you're 4 months postpartum to 16 months postpartum. It felt great just to be outside, taking a break from the grind of daily life. I hope I can keep it up.
Well, my hopes that H would be walking independently by Christmas were not to be. That's not to say that he's not getting better. I've witnessed him walk across a room when we direct him to, and once or twice he's even chosen to do it himself. But his preferred method of getting around is to walk while holding onto someone's hand. Over the holidays, when there was always a grandparent nearby, he managed to do pretty well with this. But now that we're back home and it's just us parents, well, I feel like it's been a rough few days with him. Because, you guys, I’m just done with it. I don't mind if he isn't ready to walk, but when he collapses into a heap and wails just because I had to let go of his hand, well it's all I can do not to roll my eyes and yell 'come ON'. I know that I shouldn't be too bothered. Walking around will make some things more difficult, and babies grow up so fast that I shouldn't be too worried about pre-toddlerhood lasting a few months longer. It's hard though. H is such a bright, inquisitive, funny boy. But none of that seems to translate into milestones. When measured by sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, he is always the slow one. The one who isn't quite there yet. And again, so what? We know he has issues with hearing and speech, we're addressing them and he will get there. He's making slow (very slow) progress with walking, but it's still progress. Still, it really hurts to feel like your child is always behind. And I worry that this will translate into the rest of his life. I guess watching his peers literally run away from him while he struggles to catch up hits me hard in that sore spot in my mama heart, and I get impatient for him stand up and run with them. That, or I'm just getting a hump in my back from being bent over all the time. Either way, I hope independent walking is coming soon.
I live in beautiful, rainy Vancouver, and these days I'm kicking around the city with my new son and my smarty pants husband. In a previous (and future) life I am a meteorologist. I express my non-artistic self through crafts (knitting, weaving, sewing just a bit), and sometimes if the mood is right I love to cook and bake. I write about what's going on in my life and these days that's motherhood.