It was exactly one year ago today... the day we found out that our sweet baby Evy was deaf. We woke up early that morning to head to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital to have an ABR (automated brain stem response) test. We had already done a hearing test in the booth the previous week and were told that there was enough suspicion of a hearing loss to indicate that an ABR be done. They explained that the ABR was much more conclusive than a normal booth hearing test and that if Evy was deaf, the ABR would be able to identify to what degree. They let us know that Evy would have to be put under anesthesia during the test and that it would take a couple of hours. Here she is before they took her for testing.
We went to the hospital that day prepared for what we might hear. After all, we were there because we truly felt in our hearts that something was wrong. But as time passed and we sat in the waiting room, I started doubting whether or not I was really ready to hear the results.
When they brought us into Evy's testing room, we were greeted by a very groggy baby who was still coming out of the anesthesia. They said that Evy did very well during the test and then allowed us to comfort her for a few minutes before she asked if we were ready to discuss the results. I was shaky, nervous and already on the verge of tears because the look on the audiologists face didn't make me feel optimistic. She had a look of sympathy and sadness on her face. Even though she's done this for years, I can't imagine that it gets any easier to tell parents that their child is deaf.
I handed Evy to my dad so that I could focus on what she was saying and then reached over to put my hand in Kyle's. We were given pieces of paper with audiograms on them which showed the different degrees of hearing; normal, mild loss, moderate loss, severe loss and profound hearing loss. She showed us where Evy's hearing level was and then began to explain that Evy had a profound hearing loss; the most severe kind. She continued to speak but the only thing I heard after that was the word PROFOUND. It kept repeating in my head... and then she paired the word profound with DEAF. At that moment my heart ached, and suddenly my worst fears became my reality. Profoundly deaf? This can't be! As I glanced around the room, I saw Kyle, my dad and my mother-in-law all crying, I tried to hold in my emotions, but it was just too much. I suddenly wanted my baby back in arms. I wanted to kiss her and hug her and apologize to her. Everyone repeatedly told us this was not our fault in any way, but as Evy's mother, I still couldn't help but feel guilt. I hated that I couldn't change the situation, I felt helpless.
After the immediate shock, I thought ok, what now? Will she ever speak? Will she learn sign language? Will her life be normal? The audiologist spoke about our options and we were sent home with a folder full of information.
I cried the whole way home. I was supposed to go to work after that, but left after the first 5 minutes of being there because I just couldn't stop crying. My family, friends, co workers and bosses were all amazingly supportive but at that moment, no one could say anything that made me feel better.
After I came home, I eventually brought myself to look through the folder of information and started making calls. Over the next few days we had appointments to look at schools for the deaf. Although we liked them all, we knew immediately that The Moog Center was the right choice for us. After viewing the school and observing it's amazing students, we caught a glimpse of what Evy's bright future would look like and realized that Evy was going to be just fine! And we were right!
Evy is the sweetest, most intelligent, most determined little girl I know! She hasn't let this hold her back one bit! On September 19th, 2011, I felt devastated, like the world as we knew it was crashing down on us. Although I will never forget that day and how it made me feel, I also appreciate it because I know that it has truly made us a stronger family. Because of the news we got on that day, Kyle and I are better parents who love and understand each other a little more and Paityn is a more caring sister. Now that we've come so far, I couldn't imagine life any other way. I wouldn't change a thing. You make me so proud, I love you Evynn Reese!