Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, when our sweet baby Samantha was almost one year old, I had a moment I will always remember. It was the moment that David and I looked at each other, without words, and wondered simultaneously…why didn’t Samantha hear that? It was a very long moment. I can still feel that moment.

Ten years ago we scheduled an appointment to have her hearing checked - just to put our minds at ease. They had performed the normal hearing test at the hospital shortly after Samantha was born. I just wanted them to tell me one more time that everything was fine. I wanted them to tell me that we were unnecessarily concerned. I wanted them to look at me like I was wasting their time. I wanted them to think, “She’s a new mother.”

Ten years ago I was sat down in a little office and was told that my baby girl was profoundly deaf. I was told that she would never hear and might never learn to speak. When I asked what we could do – there had to be something - they looked at me with their sad, serious faces and shook their heads.  I remember it was hard to breathe.

Ten years ago we realized that Samantha hadn’t heard anything - ever. Her world was completely silent. She hadn’t heard Raffi sing about the zoo. She hadn’t heard Goodnight Moon even though it had been read to her more than 100 times. She didn’t know the sounds of birds, or doorbells, or laughter.

Ten years ago we started praying (begging really) for God to guide us – to please help us. We prayed morning, noon, and night – and middle of the night.

Ten years ago we bought our first sign language dictionary, started taking sign language classes, and began working with a teacher for the deaf. David would work all day, go to graduate school at night, and do sign language lessons at night. We learned to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider and all of the other childhood classics in sign language. We started reading books on the floor facing each other, with the book on the floor as we told the story with our hands. Every little thing we did was a lesson – for all of us.

Ten years ago we began our travels to the University of Iowa to meet with Dr. Bruce Gantz and his staff, where Samantha received her first cochlear implant. It was 10 years ago TODAY that Samantha heard sound for the very first time. It was one of the most stressful and intense days of my life. Would it work? Had we made the right choice? Was it the choice that she would want us to make? When she was older, would she understand how difficult it was to make this kind of a decision?

Ten years seems like forever ago. If I could have only seen a little glimpse of what this precious child would be like today – a cheerful, resilient, tender-hearted, inspiring young lady – I wouldn’t have wasted a minute on worry. I wouldn’t have shed a tear. My heart would have been full with joy.

Ten years ago, who would have known that right now she’d be standing on the sidewalk, chatting with the neighborhood kids, talking about how she loves Justin Bieber’s new song! Thank you Jesus!

Thanks to all of the great people that have been a part of
 our past 10 years:
Our wonderful families & our awesome friends
The remarkable team at the Northern Trails AEA
Dr. Bruce Gantz and his staff at the University of Iowa
The Moog Center for Deaf Education