What started as a labor of love took a sharp and unexpected turn.
Funny, though, in the beginning, our baby failing one of the routine infant screening seemed the least of our worries. This little person was coming home with us. Fourteen hours of labor and now… He was ours.
It was probably just fluid in the ear canal…anyway.
In a few short weeks, we would have to return for what we thought was the green light: all clear. In the meantime, we attempted to manage to care for our pint-sized roommate.
Feed. Change. Sooth. Repeat. Nipple creams, diaper creams, oh my.
After many parents-of-a-newborn sleepless nights, the day arrived. Simply nurse this crying, pooping machine to sleep; a Nonchalant informed us he must hold perfectly still for at least an hour to get accurate readings.
Sweat beaded down my back while trying to perform this task, stuck to the giant leather recliner, designated for the infants.
Those in this department had seen this done many times. For us, it was like entering a foreign country~unable to speak the language.
My new mommy arms throbbed while turning numb, but he was finally in a slumber.
I. Wasn’t. Moving.
Perfect. I had to pee.
Censors were placed on his scrunched-up, tiny little forehead. I studied his baby acne and perfect heart-shaped lips; while struggling to keep the miniature earbuds, wires leading to god-knows-where, inserted into his squishy, little ears. Our bodies mushed. Drenched.
Please don’t wake. I prayed.
The Nonchalant took her place behind the glass. Frozen. We waited.
Then. The Room. The cold space no parent wants an invitation to enter. Nonchalant said he failed.
Dr Lab Coat said his loss was severe to profound, he would get hearing aids, maybe be a candidate for a cochlear implant, and probably go to mainstream high school.
What? High school? Profound? A candidate for…
Follow-ups were scheduled: ENT’s, Audiologists, Geneticist, Intervention Specialists.
We bundled him and headed out to battle Cleveland’s lake-effect snow. We wandered.
Where was that damn car? We searched a maze of a city-like sized parking garage at this piece-of-crap-city-like sized hospital.
When we arrived hours earlier, we had no idea. This.
Roommate clipped in. We sat. Staring straight ahead. There were no words.
And in that single morning, the journey of navigating through the fog began.