February 23, 2009

Receiving the Initial News

Hadley was three days old when we learned that she had a potential hearing loss. A newborn hearing screen was required on all infants, and as our discharge time approached, Hadley had not yet completed the test. I was confused by this, as I had a vague memory of a nurse telling me in the middle of one night that she was taking Hadley to have her hearing checked. Dan and I walked around the maternity ward, occasionally looking through the window to the nursery where a nurse was performing the test. We watched her shake her head several times; I remember wondering if she knew what she was doing. The nurse stopped us during one of our laps, asking, "Is anyone in your family deaf?". When we answered no, she asked us to bring our baby back in a few days to have Hadley tested by the regular technician. The nurse thought that maybe she was using the machine incorrectly.

We left the hospital a few minutes later, and brought Hadley home to the house. As excited as we were to have her home (This is the kitchen! These are stairs! This is your room!), we were stunned by what had happened at the hospital. Was there a problem? Did the nurse just not know what she was doing? How can we wait two more days?

Two days later, we all returned to the maternity ward. We met with the woman who had been trained to administer the newborn hearing screen. She let me hold Hadley while she placed small electrodes across her forehead and behind her head. I stayed in the room while she began the test, Hadley sleeping soundly throughout. She ran the test twice, coming up with the same results each time: refer. I received a quick explanation that "refer" meant that Hadley's brain did not respond to all of the sounds administered during the test. This could be from something as simple as a little fluid in the ears or signify a larger problem. The protocol, we were told, was to wait two months and test again with an audiologist. We were given the name and number of the audiologist who did all of these referrals, and the November appointment was made for us right then and there. She even ducked into the nursery supply closet and loaded up a huge shopping bag of free diapers, wipes and other essentials. The freebies did not make us feel any better. We took Hadley home and began our wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment