Sunday, January 20, 2013

Colin Turns 9

Baby Colin
Nine years ago, I became a Mom.

This concept overall should have scared the crap out of me, but it never did.  I admit I was nervous about becoming a hearing impaired mom, but what brought me even greater anxiety was the possibility of my baby being hearing impaired too.

At 22 years old, I lacked understanding of the real world, and I was greatly unsure of my life.  I was also deeply ashamed of who I was.  I couldn't speak of my hearing without my eyes welling with tears, and if someone else was to speak of my situation, or even ask me a question about it, I felt violated, embarrassed, and buried in self-consciousness.  I also felt guilty for my feelings, because I knew, intellectually, that my hearing impairment was not that big of a deal. Still I couldn't shake my damn emotions, and so I marched into parenthood wrapped in denial, hoping for the best, but deeply worried for the worst.

I think I've always known that at some point or another, I was going to have to accept the life God had given me.  I also believed- and still believe- that my circumstances are no accident, but this didn't necessarily make me feel better about not being able to understand people.  Still, as angry as I could be with my ears, I've always believed I was made this way for a reason.

Now I'm warning you: This might sound crazy.  But I feared God would punish me for my lack of acceptance.  I feared my baby would be born hearing impaired or deaf.

Throughout my pregnancy with Colin, and even three years later in my pregnancy with Claire, I reasoned there was only one way TO FORCE me to accept my life.  I knew I wouldn't be able to help my child develop confidence if I could not be confident in myself.  And so I assumed I would be forced to tackle my truth by having a hearing impaired child. The presumption of this challenge was so monumental to me that it terrified me to my core. 

At 10:43 AM on January 19, 2004, my beautiful baby boy, Colin, was born.  He was absolutely perfect,  and through the afternoon into the evening, my fears melted away... temporarily. 

Jeff had gone home for the night to get some rest, and through middle-of-the-night darkness, a nurse entered my room to let me know Colin was going to be taken to the nursery for tests.  Included was his infant hearing screening, and my chest tensed in anxiety.  The nurse told me to just sleep, but despite the exhaustion that comes with labor, hospital visitors, and new motherhood, I was wide awake.  I told the nurse I needed to know the results of the hearing test immediately.  She was adamant I needed my rest, but agreed she would slip a note under my door letting me know the results.

She told me not to worry, and to get some sleep.  Yeah right.

I stayed awake, my eyes glued to the clock watching each excruciating early morning minute pass by.  Occasionally I would tiptoe to the door of my room (I felt like I was being defiant in rejecting rest, not realizing yet my role as a parent and my right to be with my child).  So I would sneakily pace my way to the door in hopes of getting the results sooner, only to feel like I was being foolish and would anxiously return to my bed moments later.  This went on for what seemed like forever until finally a sliver of light entered the room as the door cracked open.

When I got to the door, THIS note was on the floor:


I had spent most of the night worrying about this very moment, so I no longer cared if I wasn't following nurse's orders.  I marched to the nursery, the note in hand.  When I found Nurse Kim, she assured me she had mistakenly written "Connor," and that indeed, Colin had passed his screening with flying colors.  He was continuing his tests and doing just fine.

And then, finally, I rested.  Next thing I knew, nine years flew before my eyes.

As the years went on, I am happy to report Colin continues to pass his hearing tests.  We were skeptical during grades 1 and 2, but alas, he achieved a perfect score with the audiologist.  It seems Colin has a combination of selective hearing and a case of "Fisher Fog," otherwise known as a genetic condition where Fisher males seem to be looking through you as you speak to them.  Colin acquired one of the worst cases.

He's also a wonderful kid: witty, passionate, creative, philosophical, athletic, and wise beyond his years.  And now he's nine-- the same age I was when I learned of my crazy hearing.

I'm no longer worried Colin will be hearing impaired, but should it happen, I know I'm a hell of a lot more equipped to support him than I would have been when he entered this world.

Today I can say, I am who I am... and I'm okay.  But I'm not just saying it; I believe it.  And I hope my kids can see that no matter what, they'll be okay too.

Claire, me, and Colin


  1. Once again, our stories are very similar. My hearing loss started at age 24 and I had my son Trent when I was 25. I worried the whole time I was pregnant with him that he might have hearing problems. I worried the whole time he was growing up. He's 25 now! He has never had any problems and neither has his brother Tanner. As mothers, it is our job to worry, but we also need to remember to ENJOY the journey of raising our kids! I wish I could have gotten my CI a long time ago!

    1. I'm glad you are saying this about your CI! It sounds as though your journey is going well and that makes me happy. It's also great that Trent and Tanner have not had to deal with hearing problems... it doesn't mean they wouldn't have ended up the same in life, but you and I both know how much extra work it takes to live life with minimal hearing. As moms, we want life to be as easy, enjoyable, and fulfulling as possible for our kids. Thank you, as always, Teresa.

  2. Replies
    1. Hopefully, my sharing helps make a self-acceptance journey a little easier for someone out there! Thanks for your kind words!