(Read Part 1)
(Read Part 2)
The month leading up to Malachi's sedated ABR felt like a lifetime to me. The more I watched him the more I suspected that he wasn't hearing. We had Skyped with a deaf friend and she even told us that she didn't think he heard anything because of the way he was wasn't reacting to thinks going on around him.
Then for some reason Malachi's ABR had to be pushed back a week. I can't remember why. Something to do with OR availability. I was so angry. They moved it to his first birthday and two days before we were planned to fly out to Oregon to visit my family for two weeks. I was already going to be stressed out and crazy busy! Not to mention getting sedated with general anesthesia is a really good way to ruin a birthday.
Finally, the day came and we arrived at MUSC. Malachi had started to get a cold. I should mention that Malachi gets ear infections sooo easily. If he gets any sort of mucous in his nose, it drains and aggravates his asthma, makes him cough and then he gets an ear infection. I'm not kidding. I stayed up the whole night before listening to Malachi cough. I knew if he had an ear infection they wouldn't be able to do the test, and then we would have to wait 2+ weeks until we got back from Oregon. I was on the verge of having a panic attack. Lucky for us he did have some fluid in his ears but no infection. Hooray!
The audiologist told us it would take 45 minutes to an hour. And an hour would be the absolute max. After an hour and 15 minutes of waiting my brain started to implode. What was going on in there? Did they find something bad? WHERE IS MY BABY?! Just after the front desk nurse called back there the audiologist came out and got us.
We were walking in the OR halls and she pulled us off to the side. It was all very serial...like we were in a movie. I always thought it was unrealistic that doctors in movies would give people the bad news in the middle of a hall with no privacy. Oh no people. It's real. It happened to us.
She said "He doesn't hear anything." We said together, "Okay."
I think she was surprised by our un-reaction. We had mostly come to terms with the fact that Malachi had hearing loss. I just wasn't quite expecting that he heard nothing. She continued to tell us that the machine only tested up to 90 decibels and they didn't get any readings up to that point on either side. We almost felt relieved. Now we know what's wrong and everything made sense. We spent months worrying about what could be wrong and now we knew that the only thing wrong was deafness. I could deal with that.
The next thing she said surprised us. "I think he'd be a great candidate for cochlear implants and if you want we can schedule an appointment with a pediatric ENT here and get him on the fast track." I didn't think cochlear implants were even on our radar. I had heard that insurance didn't cover them, and they were about $60,000 a pop. I had friends who were very against cochlear implants and here this doctor was talking like we could get them, just like that. I was confused so we told her we needed to think over things on vacation and we would contact her when we got back.
Malachi's mini birthday party later that evening with the family sort of flopped because he was still pretty drugged up. He didn't want to eat cake and went to bed an hour early. I was so disappointed. Birthdays are a big deal to me and I felt like we had ruined Malachi's first one. We were using the Insanity workouts at the time and after the boys got to bed we started working out. That's finally when the heaviness of the day's events came slamming down on my shoulders. I just started bawling. Not pretty sighs and weeping. Crazy, mad-woman-like bawling and sobbing. I wasn't sad because Malachi was deaf. I was sad because I felt unqualified. I had no idea how to raise a deaf child. I am terrible at languages. I joke I can barely speak English. How in the world was I going to be able to learn ASL? What school would he go to? Will he have any friends? Am I going to be interpreting for him forever? It was all so overwhelming I just had to go to bed. I couldn't keep my brain from going crazy over questions that I just couldn't answer right then.
Little did I know that our two week vacation in Oregon would help us make one of the biggest decisions of our lives.
To be continued....