The last few months has, in some ways, been a journey that parents kind of wish they didn’t have to go through. It’s hard for me to write about, firstly because, well. it’s still hard to come to terms with, but also secondly, because I feel a great sense of guilt for feeling sad about something that I know could be a great deal worse. Still, as a Mum, I just want my children to have the best of everything. The best of opportunity, the best of happiness and most of all the best of health. We all do, and when things don’t go perfectly, there is a little ping inside your heart that hurts.
As a Prem baby, we already knew that he was going to have a few issues, most of which paled into insignificance when it came to the struggles of other very premature babies. At five weeks early, our little man was tiny, weighing in at 2kg and spent some time in special care nursery, learning to feed and put on weight. It was a hard time for us, and we had to get used to the experience of him coming into the world in a very different manner in which his sister arrived. That said, he was in the best care, and we knew that we were lucky. When Hudson was three days old, as all new babies are in Australia (thank God) he was screened for hearing. He failed the test and after it was repeated with the same result, we were refereed to an audilogy clinic for futher testing.
I hate admiting it, but i spent those first few weeks googling my heart out. Trying to make myself feel better about his possible deafness. Trying to work out why it had happened. There was no family history. Trying to tell myself that it could be much worse. I don’t mean to upset anyone as I write this, but I was devastated. We were both so confused. I felt like I had some part to play, and was trying to find a way to explain it to my Husband. Finally after attending a clinic, and being assessed as having mild deafness, we were relieved to find that it was unlikely that he would require ‘intervention’. Months of testing has ensued as the process proves difficult to complete on babies, and especially restless boys who like to squirm. Initial testing gave way to him needing to show us what he could hear. All in all, he can hear. He responds to his name. He is starting to make sounds. He claps. He waves. All seems well.
Except the fact that he misses approximately 20% of the high pitch, soft sounds required for normal speech development. Needing the audiologists to explain what this means and then having to explain it to family has been really hard. It means that there is a possibility that he is missing out on hearing some of the sounds that he needs to speak properly, and therefore have normal conversation. What makes it hard is the fact that he cannot tell us right now exactly what he can and can’t hear. At this age he is learning to speak, and therefore does not have the ability to show us exactly what he is capable of.
Technology is amazing, but it is also frustrating. Children with Hudson’s type of hearing loss often go undetected, and become children who either cope and get by, or struggle. I don’t want that for my little boy. I don’t want him to struggle in any way. I know, of course he will, in lots of ways…all kids do. It’s totally normal. However hearing for the first time that our little man needs hearing aids to help him hear everything he needs to, has made me really test my ability to remain rational and sensible. He WILL be fine. It COULD be so much worse. He is so lucky to be living in a country where children who are deaf not only get amazing support, but get the support for FREE! It’s not something I’ve written about or shared with people beyond our family and friends, until now. Given the fact that we got them yesterday, it’s something that has become our real reality…and I want it to be positive.
That said, I just want my baby to fly, to be happy, to kick ass and conquer the world. I want him to play footy. To play an instrument. To wrestle. To swim. To do what ever his heart desires. The moment I heard that he had to wear hearing aides made my heart sink, and questions whether or not he will be able to do all of those things. Of course I know, he will. He can do what ever he wants. I just need to stick to listening to my sensible self and know that everything will be ok.
There is a great possibility that he may not need them forever. Every parent who has a child who has been through this surely must also go through a similar set of emotions. Confusion, grief, sadness, acceptance. I’m trying to stay optimistic, and know that there is nothing I’ve done to make things this way. It’s just the way it is.
I just want Hudson to be able to hear the glorious world. The cheer of the crowd at the footy. The sound of running water. Amazing music. Beautiful birds singing. His sister laughing. Most of all, I hope he can hear us tell him over and over how much we love him. Heck, if he needs hearing aides to do that, then that is just fine.
So yesterday our little man was fitted with his hearing aides. The team at Hearing Australia have been amazing and we’ve been equipped with knowledge and everything we’ll need to get him started. It’s going to be a long process of him getting used to them. They told us that we will need to use the three P’s – Persistence, Practice and a great deal of patience. Today our little man wore them both for a whole 20 minutes before pulling them out. That was amazing in our eyes. Baby steps. Onward and Upward.
Hudson, we love you mate. To the moon and back. You can do and achieve what ever your little heart desires. We’ll make sure of it.