MAGIC EARS!

Photo: ILLUSTRATION BY NEIL WEBB
Photo: ILLUSTRATION BY NEIL WEBB

My Babyman is just days away from experiencing a miracle.  Like Forrest Gump got magic legs, my son is about to receive his magic ears!  The discussions, diagnostics, planning, appointments, testing and re-testing, and surgical procedure that have had to take place for this miracle to happen have been overwhelming. For months I wondered if cochlear implants were the right thing to do?  Was I sure that he was so profoundly deaf that a cochlear implant was necessary? Would making this choice for him and putting him through all this truly benefit him?  Were his doctors and audiologists absolutely sure in their diagnosis?  Could divine intervention take place and maybe one day my baby would just wake up and be able to hear? Would people look at him and treat him different with all that “equipment” on?  Would he have trouble fitting in? Would the way a cochlear implant processes sound make sense to him? The answers to those questions obviously led my husband and me to proceed with his cochlear implant surgery. As difficult as this process has been, our faith has been firmly rooted in the concept that the end MUST-HAS TO-PLEASE GOD justify the means.

On June 3rd he had the surgery. I’m now convinced that my child must have some sort of super powers because he NEVER cried.  He didn’t cry when I had to wake him up early the morning of the procedure.  He didn’t cry when he wasn’t able to have his morning bottle or breakfast.  He didn’t cry when we had to wait in the hospital.  He didn’t cry when they took him back to that cold, sterile operating room.  He didn’t cry when they put the mask on his face forcing him to drift off into an unnatural sleep.  He didn’t cry when he woke up… disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, with unfamiliar people, with his head wrapped in a turban of gauze bandages.  He didn’t cry from pain. He just didn’t cry at all.  After about 30 hours he acted like nothing had even happened.  He laughed and played and giggled.  He amazed me with his resilience and set my mind and heart to rest that it was all going to be okay.

I’ve tried to resist the temptation to think about June 26th (MAGIC EAR DAY!).  It’s too emotional, and if you’ve ever met me, you know I have a little bit of an issue with getting way too excited and building things up in my head.  But my willpower to block it out is waning. Like a fat girl on a diet sitting face-to-face with a three-tiered chocolate cake–eventually, the cake will win! But every time I think about what Friday will be like when they activate his implant, I cry–like crazy, Nicholas Sparks novel turned into a chick-flick kind of tears. It also doesn’t help that it seems every person I know with a penchant for gut-wrenching, sob-sucking internet videos has sent me this:

I defy you to watch just 2 minutes of that video and not have to reach for a tissue.  If you don’t cry, then call a mortician because you are certainly dead inside!

I’m Excited. Nervous. Curious. Worried.  I’ve spent the last year bonding with my boy in silence and now that’s all about to change. I can’t help but wonder, and fret a little bit, how that might change him and how his little understanding of the world will shift. I know this might sound completely illogical and batshit crazy, but there’s a little part of me, I think, that will miss this “quiet time” with him.

It seems selfish, I know. But his inability to hear has forced me to adapt and I have learned some really, really amazing things over this past year, and in many ways, a lot of those things have been the foundation for our mommy-son relationship. While I know his magic ears will be the beginning of a new and exciting journey for our son and our family, some of the “deaf things”… well, I just don’t want them to fade away:

  1. You really can look into someone’s eyes and see their soul.
  2. I have the mouth of a well-educated sailor and now I’m really going to need to clean that shit up… ASAP! (I’m kidding, I’m kidding…not really)
  3. You can teach an old dog new tricks.  If you don’t think so, download an app and start learning ASL today!!
  4. Sometimes, silence IS golden.
  5. You can have an entire conversation by pointing fingers and making funny faces.
  6. Deaf babies make the best noises and sounds.  It’s a unique way of babbling and cooing.
  7. To my son, I am the best singer in the whole wide world. Even better than Celine Dion!
  8. My boy is all about that bass, ’bout that bass… no treble.
  9. There is no better feeling than when my son puts his head and hand to my chest to feel the vibrations of my voice.
  10. And finally, to tell someone “I love you”and have them hear it is great, but to show someone you love them more than the sun and moon and know that they truly feel it… well that, my friends, is immeasurable.

To be continued…

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3 thoughts on “MAGIC EARS!

  1. I loved reading this Natalie. What a big day tomorrow!!! I really understand what you mean though, about a part of you (that batshit crqzy part) missing that quiet time .. it is kind of like missing having the baby inside you, when you alreqdy have him in your arms …
    what an amazing journey you are all on together!!! Will be thinking of you all tomorrow!!!!

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