When a mother discovers her baby has hearing loss

My story begins in February of 2012, after feeling under the weather at work I returned home via the chemist to pick up a pregnancy test, mother’s intuition perhaps? I was pregnant! Now expecting our first child my husband and I were elated!

Pregnancy, birth and some unexpected news

The following months were filled with excited planning and dreams of the little being that was rapidly growing in my belly. ‘Birth-day’ arrived and we welcomed a beautiful healthy baby girl into the world. My little angel was absolutely perfect in every way!

At two days old, the nurses arrived to check Jaime’s health and hearing, my husband was out at the time and I was not bothered in the least as everything was going to be fine, or so I thought. I still remember watching the nurse hunched over my tiny baby laying content in her cot,  she has been there a long while I thought to myself, and then she looked up and told me, Jaime is not responding as I would like, it might be fluid in her ears, I will come back tomorrow. I was shocked but confident that tomorrow all would be fine. Tomorrow came and went and Jaime failed another hearing test. This time I cried. Was my perfect baby not so perfect? How could this be?

Guilt, bewilderment, heartache… What went wrong?

I felt silly, how could I think this way about my child, my beautiful baby, was there truly something wrong with her? It was another month before we had a diagnosis, a month of both coming to terms with the thought that my baby might be deaf, but also a month of denial, surely they will turn to me and say it was all a mistake!

I have a medical background and I am still undecided if this helped or not, I knew that deafness can be managed, technology exists that can help my baby hear and achieve, but how will I cope, how will I look after a baby with additional needs?

Diagnosis and action

At four weeks of age Jaime was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss, she is profoundly deaf on her left and has a severe hearing loss on her right (this means she can only hear sounds 80db and above).

Jaime was fitted with her first pair of hearing aids at seven weeks. This was an exciting step forward: the thought that she may, for the first time, hear her mother’s voice, I had never thought about how much this could mean.

Jaime’s ‘purple pair’ were fitted and we waited, Jaime paused, deep in thought, hearing… Something…? A clap.. A blink.. Success! We returned home with hope for Jaime’s future. As we progressed through multiple appointments and fortnightly fittings for new hearing aid moulds, it became clear that her ‘purple pair’ might not be enough, this sent us down the path of the cochlear implant.

Still perfect

Before you judge my feelings of disappointment at learning that my baby is deaf, please I urge you to read the article, Welcome to Holland. I was handed this story not long after being given Jaime’s diagnosis and I felt like finally someone was reading my mind…

My child is still perfect, perhaps not what I had expected or planned, but she still lights up my world, this tiny being that I first lay eyes on and with whom I fell instantly in love.

This tiny being is still exactly the same, only my knowledge has changed.

Originally published at Jaime’s Quiet World, a blog about Jaime growing up deaf and exploring the world.