May 19, 2017
The day James got his new ears.
It was a whirlwind of a day to be honest. I have thought about this day and how it would go in my head for months. I planned out his outfit, which was a custom onesie and super HEARo cape to match. I made sure James had his biggest fans there! Me, his dad, and both grandmas. I thought about what camera I would bring to record his first reactions to hearing our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I thought about how he react hearing these new sounds And I thought about how I would react seeing him hear things with his Cochlear Implants. I thought about EVERYTHING because this day has been on my mind since the moment I found out my son was permanently deaf.
We arrived to CHOP early and got settled in. James, being the social kid that he is, walked around and said hi to all the other kids there. Soon our audiologist, who shares the same name as the “King of Pop” came to get us. As we walked back he commented on James’ cape and let us know what the plans were for the day. First we would sit him down and attach the implants and send different types of beeps through them. Once the audiologist gained a threshold he would turn them on and we could talk to James. He let us know that sometimes kids cry during the computer part and sometimes they don’t react at all, and sometimes, but very rarely, they smile and laugh. So we were to prepare ourselves for any reaction.
During the computer part James was a mess. He didn’t like having the wires from the computer touching him, and he wasn’t a fan of us holding down his hands so he couldn’t touch the processors. Which is reasonable. I don’t like when I can’t move my hands either!! After doing one of ears with the computer it was time for him to take a quick snooze so we could learn all about the new technology that would be part of our lives forever. While he slept we learned about the processors and how to care for them. It was boring, but necessary.
After a brief kitty cat nap we woke James up and did the same thing to the other ear. Once the boring computer stuff was done it was time for him to hear our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I say “for the first time with CI’s” and not “for the first time” because James actually heard our voices with his hearing aids. I like to make that distinction because some kids have never heard sounds before they get activated!
BUUUT this moment was special because it was the first time James would be hearing our voices the way they will sound like now with processors.
James didn’t really have a positive or negative reaction, he cried for a couple seconds then settled down, then would cry again. I’m sure it was overwhelming to him to hear the new sounds that were coming in. But what shocked me the most was I didn’t cry or get emotional. like at all. I even texted my friends who also have kids who recently have had their implants activated and asked them if I was a bad mom for not crying when my baby heard my voice. They reassured me my reaction was natural, but I still wanted that emotion moment.
I mean, I dreamed about this moment. I would cry thinking about the moment, but I felt very little. I mean don’t bet me wrong I was happy and laughing and excited to see those cute processors on my baby’s head. (Seriously they look so cute on him!!) but it wasn’t the reaction I was dreaming I’d have.
To watch a video of James hearing with his Implants click HERE.
So! How is James doing now a few days later?
Well I’m so glad you asked. He is doing better than I could have ever imagined. The goal is to get him to wear the processors every single second he’s awake, but toddlers being toddlers usually makes that super difficult. Most kids pull them off the second you put them on their head, and they aren’t too coordinated yet, so they fall or bump their heads often which knock those implants right off. It’s usually a battle for months to keep them on. I was warned to enjoy the time in-between the hearing aids and the implants because if I thought hearing aids were hard I was in for a rude awakening with the implants.
HOWEVER. James has got himself some magic ears that apparently want to keep the processors on. I don’t have to fight him to put them on, and I don’t have to attach them as often as I thought I would. I mean he’s still a toddler who bumps into things for crying out loud. He does wear them almost every second he’s awake….. however, this kid gets SUPER sleepy now. I assume it’s because he’s adjusting to this new sensation and it is simply exhausting using his brain that much. That being said Im pretty proud of his dad and me for being so diligent and patient with putting them back on whenever they do fall off. The more access to sound James get the better his outcome will be!
Today I decided I should let James listen to music with his implants. I would let him listen to music when he had his hearing aids, but he would cry when I played music, so I usually just let him listen to it every once in awhile because early intervention said I should. I didn’t have high hopes for today, but I wanted to try. So I put on “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus and waited to see what his reaction would be.
At first he looked confused, but then the corners of his mouth creeped up to form a big smile, which was followed by him jumping up and down dancing. He jumped, he giggled, he clapped. HE LOVED it! I work from home and one of my employees, Val, was there to witness this moment with me. She filmed him jumping up and down while I admired him with the biggest smile on my face. Later in the day when it was just me and James I decided to play the song again to see if he would have the same reaction. He did. and out of the blue I started sobbing. I mean hyperventilating, ugly girl, bawl your face off crying.
It broke my heart when James hated music with his hearing aids. Before he was born I would dream of us dancing together listening to all the different types of music that I loved. I loved music and I loved dancing and all that passion went away because he couldn’t hear it. My love for music was gone. But today. Today he danced. All the emotions I thought would come when he was first activated came in like a tidal wave when I saw him dance. So if you’re reading this, Miley Cyrus, Thank you for writing such a catchy song that my son and I can now dance to!
I’m sure there will be tons more things that get this momma’s heart bursting with pride and joy, and every victory deserves to be celebrated! But today I celebrate this moment!
HAPPY NEW EARS JAMES!!!
Such a brave Boy!!
Not feeling the greatest, but still waved to all the nurses that came in to check on him.
So Sleepy on the way home!
The next morning it was like nothing happened. hahah he was playing like normal!
Healing quite nicely!
I’ve never claimed to be an artist….Thankfully my friend matt can take my chicken scratch and turn it into this …….
Super Hearo’s need their blankets sometimes.