There are so many things that can weigh on you after the birth of your baby. Everything from breastfeeding, to milk coming in, from healing, to figuring out how you will ever sleep again. But this time around, I was faced with challenges that I never expected.
Like with any delivery in a hospital, after birth you are transferred to the recovery floor where you stay for the next 24 hours or so. The nurses constantly come into your room to check you and your babies vitals. At just a few hours of life, your baby gets blood drawn and a hearing test, all of which seemed routine and familiar, since Millie had it done just 2 years ago and everything was normal. I can remember eating a club sandwich and watching Fixer Upper as the nurse was doing the routine hearing test on Amos. I honestly wasn’t paying much attention because I figured everything was normal. When the test was done, the nurse looked at me and said, “So both ears referred.” What the heck did that mean!? She then proceeded to tell me that it means he failed the hearing test and that Amos would need to come to the nursery for further testing. My heart started pounding and I couldn’t help but begin to think the worst…My son will never hear my voice. Tears filled my eyes and my husband and I did only what we knew to do…Pray.
My precious Amos already had my whole heart. A full head of hair, long skinny toes and brown almond shaped eyes…he was perfect. The nurse had told us that we needed to wait 2 hours before we could do the next test and to bring him sleeping. The next two hours I prayed that his ears would be cleared of all fluid and that the first hearing test was just a fluke. I can remember wheeling my perfect sleeping baby boy into the nursey. The nurse had me sit with him as she placed things all over his forehead and things in his ears. I couldn’t help but burst into tears, seeing my sweet newborn hooked up to a computer is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced.
As the test started, I closed my eyes. I rubbed Amos’s tiny newborn hand, laid my head on the hospital bassinet and prayed hard. I prayed that God would free my sons ears of any fluid. I prayed that being deaf would not be a part of my sons story. I prayed with expectancy that the test would be normal. After 30 minutes, the test was complete. I looked at the screen and both ears had failed, again. My sweet sleeping baby may never hear me say “I love you.” He may never hear his sisters laugh and the way she says his name. The nurse told us we would need to come back in 3 days for further testing. The reality of having a deaf child was now something I was having to think about.
At this point, Amos was not even a day old but had endured a triple cord wrap, failed hearing tests and would now experience high levels in his blood work. I hate that they have to prick the tiny feet of a newborn to get blood, but I am thankful they do it. Amos’s bilirubin came back super high, which meant his jaundice levels were high. This can be very dangerous and can cause brain damage if not treated promptly. The pediatrician on call came into our room and explained to us the severity of getting bloodwork done again at his 3 day old appointment. This was a lot to handle. Not only were we having to comprehend possibly having a deaf baby boy, but now there was potential for brain damage? Why God!? Why are you making my baby endure this. Why are you making us endure this? I was mad at God. Mad for not answering our prayers and mad for making these first moments with Amos emotionally challenging.
On top of all of this, I had my precious 21 month old daughter at home that needed me. The weight of responsibility was very heavy. I needed to be strong for my daughter, who’s life was about to drastically change, and for my baby, who’s future was unknown. Although I was mad at God, I knew that He loved Amos and had a plan for all of this. I couldn’t control the test results, I couldn’t control how Amos’s story was to be written, I couldn’t control anything. But I could pray, so that’s what I did.
Amos had already caused me to humble myself and trust God more than I ever had. I had to trust that God had everything under control. I had to relinquish my worry and trust that if Amos were to be deaf that God would orchestrate it to glorify Him.
Fast forward to our first days at home. I’m trying to heal, my milk is coming in, my daughter is trying to understand that baby brother is no longer in mommy’s belly but in her arms. This was a lot for everyone. Those first days at home were hard. I had to keep it together for my daughter and be strong for my baby boy.
The day had come for the follow up hearing test as well as the additional bloodwork. We rode the elevator up to the 6th floor. Again, Amos was hooked up to a machine and given the same hearing test as before. This time Millie was with us. Almost an hour later and the test was complete. The left ear had passed, but the right had not. The nurse proceeded to tell us that we would be referred to a pediatric audiologist. At this point, we had to begin accepting that Amos could be partially deaf. Now let me be completely clear. I could care less about having a fully deaf or even partially deaf son, but my heart broke for the potential road ahead for my baby boy. No parent wants their child to endure anything hard. No parent wants their child to feel like they are not normal or have to face hardship because of how they were created. But NO test result would change the unconditional love I had for my son. By the end of the day, we received a call from the pediatrician who informed us that the bilirubin levels had decreased to a normal level and that we would not need to proceed with anymore bloodwork. We rejoiced in this answer to prayer!
Just a few days later was our appointment with the pediatric audiologist. Thankfully my mom was able to hang out with Amelia while Alex met me at the doctors office. I cannot begin to describe the feelings I had that day as we approached his appointment. Although the days leading up to this appointment had been filled with lots of prayers, I was still anxious and weary of the answers we would get. The doctor made us feel very comfortable and explained how the test would be facilitated and what would happen next. The doctor began the test by hooking electrodes up to Amos’s forehead and placing ear pieces inside his ears. As the test began, tears rolled down my face. This was the forth hearing test Amos had in only a week and a half of life. Please Lord, let us get some answers!
No more than 2 minutes went by and the doctor stopped the test. “He’s good!” I’m sorry what!? Our son could hear!? From both ears!? "Yes, he can absolutely hear from both ears." I immediately burst into tears, jumped up and hugged Alex. We both cried with a sense of relief. Our sweet baby boy could hear, not just from one ear but both!
Amos’s first weeks of life taught me a lot. I cried a ton and experienced more doubt than I ever have. But I also prayed more than I ever have. Before Amos was born I was nervous of the love I would have for him. I was so sure that I couldn’t love another baby like I loved Amelia, but boy was I wrong. I’m not saying that God allowed us to go through this to show me how to love my son, but I do know that the unconditional love I feel for Amos is immeasurable.
My Brave Amos has taught me so much already. Nothing is predictable in parenthood and nothing is in our control when it comes to having a child. Amos has been brave and God has carried him through it all and will continue to do so as his story is written.
When I am faced with trials that seem unbearable, I pray. When I am given answers that seem hard to accept, I pray. When life is out of my control, I pray.
Parenthood is freaking hard but when you add unanswered questions about your newborn to the mix, it makes it one big worrisome mess. My heart was shattered and then glued back together after enduring this trial with my baby boy. I hope you find something in my story to take with you and offer it to someone else who may be in the process of gluing their heart back together.
Abby is a Mom to two little ones, and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, their beautiful daughter Amelia Grace, brand new son Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.
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