Friday, January 6, 2012

Welcome to the World, Lauren!

Well, hello all.  It has been a long time since our last update.  Pregnancy, working full-time, a new baby with a 3-year old and a 4-year old will do that to a person. 

Lauren was born on August 9.  She weighed 7 lb, 5 oz and was over 20 inches long.  She looked like both her brother and her sister.  We did the OAE a couple times in the hospital.  She didn't pass.  At 4 days old, I did a couple unscientific tests of my own, and determined that she was deaf as well.  Taylor's genetic testing showed that we are recessive carriers of Connexin 26, so we knew there was a 25% chance.  We had an ABR at 6 days old and confirmed profound deafness. She had a no response ABR, as Taylor did. 

I want to say it was easier finding out the second time around, and it was.  But it was still hard too.  I think I cried for a few days this time (combining all this with the post-partum hormones didn't help), versus a few months with the diagnosis for Taylor.  When we found out about Taylor's deafness, she was already one year old, so I was sad and guilt-ridden about all of the baby moments when she couldn't see me/family, but we thought she could hear us - rear-facing in the car seat, riding in the stroller, singing to her when she was in her crib, and so on.  I was also worried and uncertain about what Taylor's future would be.  Now, I know there are no limits whatsoever to Taylor's future for social, career, and recreational opportunties. 

With Lauren, I cried about the times that she would miss hearing as a baby - the lullabies and laughter of her brother and sister and the I Love You's from Mom and Dad. Fortunately, we've been down this road before; we had a plan before she was even born; and we get reminded daily of the wonderful future ahead of Lauren, because we live it every day with her big sister.  And I know those baby moments that she'll "miss", like lullabies, etc. -- she will never know for a second that she missed anything. 

Lauren, December 2011
When we got home on the evening of Lauren's official diagnosis, I pulled out Taylor's baby book from birth to age 1, and looked at picture after picture of a happy, smiling baby.  We didn't know she was deaf at that point, and Taylor certainly didn't think she was missing a thing!  It made me feel so much better.  Today, I am nothing but thankful for my healthy and beautiful children.  I am grateful that we get to parent Lauren.  I know that she will also be an amazingly example of deafness, and overcoming challenges in general... and through perserverance and hard work, anything is possible for these children.  Of course, the right surgeon, mappings, and therapy all help.  Getting them access to sound is the key, and the learning will happen.

We have had hearing aids for Lauren since around 3 weeks of age.  I keep them on her as much as possible.  She is almost 5 months old, so she is awake and up more all the time, making it easier and easier.  I have seen her respond to sound a few times, so I know they are providing some access to sound.  To what extent, I don't know.  We know the end result with her diagnosis is bilateral cochlear implantation.  We have met with the surgeon and are working on that timeline.  In the meantime, if any access to sound can be provided through the hearing aids, we are going to do our best.   
Taylor, Crazy Christmas Headband

Taylor is now 3 and a half. She has been in the local preschool since September. She loves it and is doing extremely well. Her vocabulary is impressive and she regularly says 7-word or longer sentences. She has become quite the performer. She loves to have an audience so that she can entertain by singing, dancing and telling stories. Her articulation continues to improve. We are at the point now where almost anyone can understand what she is saying, and certainly if they have the context of the discussion. The funny part is that now Taylor likes to do a lot of
Taylor, Christmas Day 2011
Putting on a show!
pretend-play and story-telling. So we get a lot of "well, I thought that was what she said but I didn't think that was true..." Ahh, the true joy of having a 3-year old. She is amazing.

A few recent examples - as we left her dance class, "Mommy, it's dark outside. I need to turn on my flashlight so that I can see better." "Mommy, I like your bed. I don't want to sleep in my bed -- there are monsters in my room. I'm scared" (complete with a shudder). We are having all of the typical discussions you would want to have with a 3-year old.

More to come soon... I won't take such a long blog-cation again.