At this point we only had one week to go until activation! Landon has become a crawling machine, nothing in the house was safe. His favorite thing is to go play in his brothers’ room. It Halloween time and we are going to take the boys to Boo at the Zoo in their costumes. Connor is going to be a Power Ranger, Garrett is Yoda (with his favorite color green lightsaber), and Landon is an LSU football player. You can see Landon in his wonderful football uniform sitting by himself. It is amazing how a child who could not sit on his own just three weeks ago is now belly crawling and getting to a sitting position on his own. I am pretty confident that we will not need to put him in physical therapy given his progress over the past few weeks since his surgery. I am not sure what the implantation process did to his vestibular system, but I am confident it corrected some balance issues he was having.
One year ago today our lives took a detour to a new journey. Landon had failed the newborn screening in the hospital and of course we got the typical speech from the nurse in the hospital – it’s probably just fluid, give it a few weeks, it will clear out and go for a retest. This was the day I took him for the repeat OAE – that was supposed to come back fine. By the time we went for this test, we pretty much knew he had a problem. Being that he was #3, we knew he wasn’t responding like he should. I remember being in the hospital after having Connor and seeing him turn his head in the direction of my voice at only a day old. Garrett could run through the living room screeching and Landon wouldn’t flinch an eye. Nobody can be that sound of a sleeper – Garrett can wake the dead with his high pitches. The audiologist ran the test, told me he didn’t pass again; but she wanted to run a test to see if he had any fluid in his ears. After that, all she could tell me was that he had some type of a loss, but that we wouldn’t know the degree or type until we ran an ABR test. At the time, we didn’t know there were degrees or different types of hearing loss. We just thought you could either hear, or if you were deaf, you couldn’t. Has our world – and vocabulary – changed over the last year.
I came home and was glued to the computer for the next few weeks – trying to find out everything I could on hearing loss – even though we didn’t get the official diagnosis until Nov.6 when they did the ABR. Surprisingly, his hearing loss hasn’t been that hard to accept. I’ve never had this overwhelming grief that a lot of parents go through. I don’t know if maybe it’s because for the first five weeks we knew there was something wrong so I was prepared when she said he failed it again. Maybe it’s because I haven’t stopped long enough since the diagnosis to really focus on it. Maybe it is just naive on my part, because we haven’t really gotten very far in this journey so maybe I’m not aware of everything that it entails. The main thing I’ve kept thinking since we found out is how lucky we are. There are so many birth defects and health problems that can effect children and we were blessed enough to have three healthy boys. Yes, one of them couldn’t hear – but he could live like that. At that time we still knew nothing about cochlear implants or what they could do for someone – we just figured we would all be learning sign language. But it wasn’t a life threatening birth defect. It wasn’t a disease that was incurable. He would simply have to learn a new way to communicate. Imagine our surprise when we found out about cochlear implants and learned that not only would he be able to hear, but he would be able to speak and go to school just like his brothers. It has definitely been a learning year. It has had it’s rough spots – like getting through the surgery. I’m sure the next few years will have their share of challenges – teaching him to listen and talk. We can’t wait for Monday to get here and get him activated. Maybe by this time next year we will have forgotten this date and instead focus on Oct.29 – his hearing birthday.