One Year On – We really ARE copying with the deaf diagnosis. Yay!

25 Sep

It’s a year this week since our baby boy was diagnosed as severely deaf. At the time we couldn’t eat or sleep. We couldn’t even drink which shows how badly it affected us! Paralysed by shock and grief we stumbled our way through the first few months.

People say that when you experience a death in the family you shouldn’t make important decisions for at least a year. I wish someone had told me that the same applies to a serious diagnosis. My knee jerk reaction was to give up a days salary when I returned to work in February. Madness given that I still do the work. I just don’t get paid for it any more. We also ploughed blindly ahead with plans to send our older daughter to private school which were only halted at the eleventh hour when a business trip to New York gave me the perspective to realise that adding the emotional turmoil of school transition into a situation where emotions in the family were already running high was just asking for trouble. Plus I’d lost a days salary.

Around his first birthday life finally began to seem more normal again and to my joy our baby boy began to respond to us so we no longer had to have blind faith in the endless audiograms and experts who poke things in his ears to tell us what he could hear. On our flight back from Menorca I was singing ‘clap, clap handies’ and to my astonishment he started clapping. On holiday in Islay he didn’t even have his hearing aids in when we asked him to ‘wave bye bye’ and he did it. It was the first time we’d realised he could hear anything without his aids in. This morning my husband and I had tears in our eyes when we said ‘kisses for daddy’ – again without hearing aids in – and he blew an enormous raspberry – the closest he ever gets to kissing.

Every milestone, which with our other children we took for granted, seems like a miracle. This time last year we had absolutely no idea if the deaf diagnosis was related to something more sinister but as time has progressed and he has moved from sitting to commando crawling and proper crawling to cruising we have realised that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the rest of his development. He may not be able to hear as well as the rest of his friends but with his hearing aids he can and like most deluded parents of one year olds we have convinced ourselves that somewhere in that baby babble are the words ‘daddy’, ‘mama’, ‘thank you’ and ‘bye bye’. He terrorises us on a daily basis as he discovers new ways in which we should have baby-proofed our home then gives a huge toothy smile as he stands rocking on a kitchen chair, ascends the steep study stairs or suspends himself in mid air dangling from the book shelves.

I would love to go back in time and tell myself that although the deaf diagnosis is devastating it is surmountable. There will inevitably be lots of tears but nothing can compare to the joy we all feel as he reaches each milestone. Yes I’d prefer it if he could hear, yes the hearing aids are a fiddle to get on and a pain to deal with when we go swimming / to the beach but with them in he is exactly the same as every other little boy his age.

Except possibly more handsome, more intelligent, more happy, more fearless and A LOT more loud!


9 Responses to “One Year On – We really ARE copying with the deaf diagnosis. Yay!”

  1. Sheri September 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Hoorah for the superstar that is Angus and the superstars that you and the rest of the Brownlee-Donalds are. This post has me greeting at my desk – but they are happy tears. So proud of you xx

    • jaybeafish September 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Both poignant and uplifting. Angus sounds like a joy … and he’s clearly got the measure of you. Love the point about advice to our past selves. I wonder what we can learn from this in advising our future selves? x

  2. JasmineKyleSings October 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Congrats on rallying. It’s great that you are also so open about your experience. I really feel that this kind of bravery and thoughtfulness makes the world a better place.


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