When we got started, the audiologists had Evy sit in my lap while they put her implant on for the first time.
Evy's internal device has electrodes which are threaded through her cochlea. Below is a picture of what the cochlea looks like.
The electrodes are threaded through the cochlea so that Evy gets all the ranges of sound. The audiologists began with the right ear, and had to start with testing each electrode to make sure they were getting a response. After they got a response, they used a computer to send beeping noises to her implant. They gradually made the beeps louder until Evy reacted as if she heard it. They look for a behavioral response from Evy to know that she heard it, but also want to also make sure that she doesn't squint or startle, which would indicate that it is too loud. When they were able to establish a level of sound that was comfortable for Evy, they officially turned the implant on and she was able to hear everything around her! Evy definitely showed signs that she could hear us, it was pretty exciting!
After the right ear, they did the same exact thing on the left ear. She did very well with the left ear too, and before we knew it, they were ready to turn both of the implants on at the same time. As soon as both implants were on, Evy became quite scared and overwhelmed (on top of it being past her lunch/nap time!) She was really upset at that point so we wrapped things up and Evy went on a wagon ride through the hospital while the audiologists sat with Kyle and I to teach us how to use the implants and all of its accessories. It was information overflow and we felt nervous to bring Evy and all of her new gear home! There is so much that goes into taking care of the implant and its equipment, but it's still all new to us and I'm sure that soon enough we will be using it effortlessly.
Although we were very much looking forward to this day, it was as difficult as it was rewarding. I was happy for her and proud that I was finally seeing her hear, but watching her get confused and upset was hard. The rest of the day after we arrived home was better. I could tell she felt more comfortable at home and she was excited to play with her noisy toys! She would look at the toy and then look at me like she was thinking "Huh, this has made noise all this time?" A few times, while she was playing we called her name and she turned around without us having to tap her to get her attention.
Those little things, that most take for granted put a smile on my face and made me forget about the stressful moments of the day. The best moment, however was when I sang Evy "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" tonight and I knew that she heard me. I have been singing to Evy since she was born, even when I knew she couldn't hear me, so tonight when she calmed as she heard my voice I wasn't sure if I wanted to smile or cry, but I am sure that it was an amazing feeling!
There will be hard times during Evy's journey, that's for sure. Hard for Kyle and I as parents, when we have to be "the bad guys" in order to make her future the best it can be. Hard for Paityn, who will sometimes feel that she is not getting the same attention as her little sister, and hard for Evy who will always have to work harder than other kids her age. The tough times won't be easy, but the good times will always be that much more rewarding and we are all stronger for having gone though this. One thing I know for sure is that there is definitely no shortage of love in this family, and that makes us very lucky!