Sometimes, God moments are obvious, like when they involve everyone at gate A-4 of the Albuquerque airport. Other times, they are apparent only to the person who experiences them. I’ve found parenting has its share of God moments, particularly the latter kind.[hr]
My daughter is hearing impaired. She “failed” the newborn hearing screening administered in the hospital a few hours after her birth. The technician assured that a “no pass” result was not uncommon and that something as simple as fluid in her ears, an artifact of being in utero, could have caused the result. The screening was redone the next day. Again, no pass.
The results of her two screenings put us on a path toward ascertaining the nature and extent of her impairment, which we did with the support of Sunshine Cottage’s Parent-Infant Program, pediatric ENT, Dr. Roderick Moe, and audiologist, Dr. Tracy Board. On her six-month “birthday,” Claudia was fitted with her first hearing aid.
Those six months were a bit of a whirlwind, as I came to terms that my tiny little daughter needed something I was not equipped to give her myself; that it was impossible to know whether the impairment would get worse, or the extent to which it would affect her life.
At the same time, I knew how lucky we were. Lucky that Texas performs hearing screenings on neonates, so that we knew at the earliest possible moment an issue needed to be addressed. Extraordinarily lucky that San Antonio has a resource like Sunshine Cottage, which is a beacon for families across the state and nation. Lucky that we had the ability and resources to run the issue to ground, and in only six months. Lucky that in the scheme of hearing impairments, Claudia’s, which is unilateral and classified as “moderately severe,” is not the worst one in the world.
And yet, with all this gratitude, I struggled to see my “perfect” baby with a hearing aid attached to her ear. For no reason other than simple vanity. It’s not a response I’m proud of.[hr]
After her fitting, I stopped at a nearby HEB. It wasn’t my usual grocery shopping day, and it wasn’t my usual store. In short, I had no foreseeable reason to be at that place, at that time.
As I navigated the produce section, a lovely little pre-teen girl and (a woman I assumed to be) her grandmother started exclaiming over the “cute baby” in my cart. I accepted their compliments but, still reeling from the events of the morning, was overcome by loghrrea. “Thank you, but she just got a new hearing aid. She’s wearing a hearing aid,” I sputtered.
At that moment, the girl broke into a smile, swept her long black hair away from the sides of her head, and revealed that she was wearing two hearing aids. All she said was, “I am too.”
At that moment, at not-my-HEB, in the middle of a weekday, I had my own private God moment.[hr]
If you would like to know more about our experience with Claudia’s hearing impairment please post in the comments below. I would be happy to share more details or visit with others walking a similar path, either on- or off-line.