Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, how far we've come...

It was one year ago today that Jared and I found out Sophie is deaf. The worst day of my life. We sat in the sound booth, staring at our tiny, perfect newborn, and agonized as the ABR was performed. We were on edge, barely breathing as we looked for the slightest reaction to sound from our baby – a deep breath, toe flex, eyebrow wrinkle… Nothing… The minutes rolled by and the sounds coming from the miniature earphones grew louder and louder and I knew it had to be roaring in her ears. Yet Sophie slept, peacefully and soundly, not even the slightest stir. Reality began to sink in and every ounce of optimism we were hanging onto vanished into thin air.

I don’t remember much about our conversation with the audiologist, because I was clinging to my deaf baby, sobbing and devastated. I couldn’t bring myself to meet Jared’s teary gaze because I was afraid my heart would break even further. A tsunami had come through and instantly wiped out my dreams - every hope, plan, idea – it was all gone. The bliss of being a new mom was shattered and I was robbed of happiness. Our future was uncertain and I had no idea what to do. I felt lost… angry… cheated… and overcome with grief.

Somehow we left the hospital and drove home that day. I had to call and tell my parents, which was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I can still hear the sound of my mom weeping as I choked out the words. I know the news destroyed their world just as it had ours and they were equally as devastated. It was different for them - not only were they heartbroken for their grandchild, but for their children as well. I went to bed that night not wanting to wake up and face the reality of the next morning.

And now here we are today. Oh, how far we’ve come! We have a bright little toddler who knows more vocabulary than most hearing kids her same age. We have a little girl who listens and cooperates when we say things like, “Bring me your shoe” or “Go get a book”. We have a little rock star who loves to play the guitar and keyboard with her daddy and shakes her booty to the music. J One thing I do recall from that horrid day is being told that things are different now and Sophie would most likely get a cochlear implant. At the time, I knew little about CIs and had absolutely no idea what impact the technology would have on our lives. If I could have gotten a glimpse of our life today, it would have eased my pain and heartache and made those early days much more livable.

Although a year has passed, every time I think back to this day, my stomach sinks and my eyes tear up. All of the emotions come rushing back and the feeling of hopelessness encompasses me once again. I can’t help but wonder if I will always feel this way. Time heals all wounds? Maybe. I hope so. 

I understand now that we were not hit with a tsunami. That is what it felt like in the moment, but I realize how lucky we are. The impact was actually closer to a smaller surface wave that came in fast and knocked us over. We lost our balance initially and will have to take a different path because there are some hurdles in the way. But we will still get to the same destination and be stronger in the end. I left the hospital that day hopeless, defeated, and changed forever. Over the past year, I feel as though I have experienced a decade’s worth of ups and downs and life lessons. I have slowly evolved into a different person that I may have never become on my own. And although it may have been the worst day of my life, I truly appreciate it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A small moment

I was videotaping Sophie earlier (as usual, right?!) and trying to get her to mimic the sounds I was making. She was failing miserably because it was time for dinner and bed, but I got a cute moment on tape at the end. Sorry - you have to watch it all because I didn't have time to edit:

There is nothing really spectacular about this video, but something about the way she pointed to her ears at the end just makes my heart melt. She looks away from the camera, takes a deep breath, then looks back at me and points to her ears. It's like she was saying, "Geez, Mom. I get it, okay. I HEAR you. I UNDERSTAND you. I guess I'll point to my ears so you will stop harassing me." If she knew how to to roll her eyes, I'm sure she would have!

Yeah, she is going to be okay. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vocab, vocab, vocab!

I videotaped Sophie a few nights ago going over some vocab before bedtime. I had to do some editing because she was quite the crabby girl! It's so hard to work with her during the week because she is normally spent by the time we get home and settled. I think it's neat that she can identify universal objects in books, though. For example, she always knows the dog or kitty even though most of them look different. Same goes for other objects like shoes, a car, a fish, etc. 

Did you notice in the first video that Sophie grabbed my toes when I asked her to point to the "sippy"? I think this is because they refer to her toes as "piggies" at the babysitter's house and it sounded similar to her. :)

Anyway, as you can see, Sophie's receptive language is growing! We hadn't looked at any of those books for over a week, so she is also retaining most things that she learns. She knows at least 60+ words now and picks up more daily. Not bad for 3 months hearing!

Since she knows so many words, we are now focusing on two word combinations. In the video below, I asked Sophie to choose between two objects and then take an action. She had to first identify the correct object and then complete the proper action.

Sophie chose the dog and gave him a kiss and then chose the duck and made him "walk". She also made her baby "jump", but I didn't get that on tape. I started out with objects that she easily knows, but we will try harder combos soon. This is a pretty difficult task for any 12 month old, so I'm pretty darn proud of her. :)  We have her IFSP review coming up in May and we are hoping that First Steps will give approval for Sophie to attend Moog in the fall. I can't believe we are already at this point - I could not be more excited!

I feel like this blog has been all videos lately, but it's the best way to capture all of her language milestones! I'm still working on getting "ma-ma" on tape, so cross your fingers for that. ;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes!

Where are they? Sophie knows! Well, she knows most of her major body parts anyway. We have really been focusing on body parts for the last week or so. When asked, she will point out her eyes, ears, mouth, nose, belly, and feet. It's so cute! I think she knows hands, too - it's just harder for her to demonstrate that she knows where her hands are. I got her on tape last night pointing out a couple parts of her body:

It is definitely getting harder to videotape her. Usually, as soon as she sees the camera, she just wants to go at it!

We also had a breakthrough the other day - Sophie started saying "mama"! I was ecstatic, to say the least. ;) I just got home from work and went in the bedroom to change clothes. I started calling Sophie's name (I often do this to make her follow my voice throughout the house and find me) and heard her start to crawl toward the bedroom. Then I hear, "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" and in comes Sophie. How cool is that?! I continued to say "mama" and she mimicked me all night. I don't think I'm counting it as her first word just yet because she hasn't continued to say it spontaneously, but it is still amazing. Definitely an "A-HA!" moment. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Summer Workshop!

Want to visit St. Louis this summer?? Sophie's school is hosting their annual parent/child workshop and I would like to share the info. It's for families with children ages 2-5 who have hearing loss. I've heard wonderful things about this workshop and I encourage you to check it out. Registration is $150 and it is June 14th - June 18th. Please see below or visit: www.moogcenter.org for the enrollment info.