Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Little Ears

When our monoamniotic twins were born at 32 weeks and 3 days gestation, their tiny ears were just ear-shaped flaps of skin. They could bend and fold and we had to take care not to put the babies down with their ears creased. The neonatal nurses told us that the cartilage would develop in the coming weeks and it did. The tiny ears were just one more fragile thing about our little babies.

When we checked out of the hospital, Aviva's and Violet's ears were beginning to take more shape and were much less flexible. We had instructions to get two additional screenings for the girls after being discharged - a hip screening (twins can have hip issues, ours do not) and a hearing screening (done on all newborns, but not done while in the neonatal unit).

When our son Riley was born, they checked his hearing the very next day and before we left the hospital. I remember the nurse coming in the room and saying "Congratulations, he will hear and develop speech normally." I thought it was a strange thing to say at the time, but was glad to know his ears were working. This time, when we left the hospital without knowing if our babies could hear, it felt odd.

Fast forward to about a month ago when we finally went in for the hearing screening - a normal day and we were doing what I thought would be a routine test. Until both girls failed the test. The woman who conducted the test seemed very sad and said that sometimes a failed test was due to having a cold (both girls did), but she also didn't give us any false hope. The fact was, it was possible that our babies could not hear. We were refered to a hospital specializing in ears and hearing and we waited to get our appointment. Due to some Danish holidays, we waited a while. And this is how I came to spend nearly a month not knowing if my babies could hear.

While I know that hearing problems can be overcome, no mother hopes for her babies to be hearing impaired or deaf. After worrying about so many things through the pregnancy and our NICU stay, I was completely deflated when we sat in the hearing test room and watched the little light on the machine flash red over and over again.

We spent the ensuing weeks asking questions. Did she hear the dog bark? Why didn't Aviva turn her head to see the mobile when the music went on? Did Violet just wake up because of the creaking floorboard or was it a coincidence? Would I ever get to hear Aviva and Violet chatter away like their big brother does, or did we have something different in our future? I didn't share the hearing test results with many people for fear of making it more real. We just waited.

Today was hearing test day at last. We took the regional train to the hospital this morning and finally got the news we were waiting for. Both girls can hear! The relief I feel is enormous. I wanted to hug the nurse who did the tests, but I refrained. Our babies can hear! I'd like to say that I will sleep well tonight since I no longer need to worry about their hearing, but they will wake me up too many times for a good nights sleep.

1 comment:

  1. That's wonderful news Jodi! I'm so sorry you had to agonize for so long wondering. I do have to say, if you run into more problems like this in the future to not fear. I have terrible hearing - nearly have my hearing is gone, and I was born with something like 35% nerve damage. There are ways around it... Still, so happy to know how it's going! Thinking of you and sharing in your wonderful news & joy. <3 adrienne