Thursday, May 26, 2011

June Discoveries

We brought our bundle of joy to Dr. Susan Levitzky, Hannah's pediatrician, for her first checkup. We told her about Hannah's hearing and our concerns. We were hoping she would see the fluid in her ears. She took one look in her ears and said there was no fluid. We were crushed. She recommended we see Dr. Janie Bartlett, a distinguished audiologist who specialized with children.
We met with Dr. Bartlett the following week to perform a behavioral hearing test on Hannah. While this is a subjective test performed on a newborn baby, Dr. Bartlett wanted to see if Hannah reacted in any way to sound, either by moving her eyes or have a change in her mouth as she nursed. Michael, Hannah and I went into a listening booth while Dr. Bartlett piped in different sounds. While Hannah slowly moved her eyes when a really loud sound occurred, she didn't startle the way a normal hearing baby would. She recommended us talked to Dr. Ronald Hoffman, an ENT with The Ear Institute at NYEE.
At the same time, my father contacted a family friend Ali, an ENT doctor for his recommendations. He suggested we speak with Dr. Simon Parisier, one of the early pioneers of cochlear ear implant surgery and a colleague of Dr. Hoffman at The Ear Institute. We felt we were going to the right place for Hannah.
We met with Dr. Parisier at the end of June and he assured us Hannah would be ok. Michael and I were so overwhelmed with the possibilities of Hannah's hearing loss. How do we interact with her? Do we have to shout at her for her to hear? Dr. Parisier said to treat her like any normal hearing baby and continue talking with her, singing with her, hold her close and let her feel you talking.
It's so hard to be certain what a baby at this age may or may not hear. Did she turn to sound, did she hear us sing to her, did she hear that siren or that jack hammer as we went walking with her?
We made an appointment for further testing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Newborn Hearing Screening

Hannah was born full term after 40 weeks and two days of pregnancy. She began her first three days in the hospital by taking the universal newborn hearing test. The test is performed by placing a small probe into her ears. It only took a few minutes for the technician to tell me she failed in both ears. Needless to say, I was shocked. Neither Michael nor myself had any issues with hearing loss in our families. The only answers I had from the hospital was failing this screening was common and that it was probably a result of fluid in her ears, which is common for C-section babies. They told me I shouldn't worry. We tried our best to put this out of minds and we basked in the pure joy of having Hannah.
For the next two mornings, the screening was repeated in the hospital and Hannah failed each time. It's my nature to worry and I was really getting worried. I pressed the hospital nurse for more information but she called me "The Worrier" and moved on. Because Hannah failed the screening in the hospital, we were told to follow-up with an audiologist.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our Little Star Is Born

Hannah Rose came into this world on May 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm. It was the most amazing day of our lives.