Our diagnosis storyPublished Date: 09 Feb 2023
After an extremely easy pregnancy, our precious baby boy was born overdue after a three-day induction. I contracted sepsis during labour, so we had a five-night stay in hospital on IV antibiotics. It was during this time that George failed his newborn hearing screening test, and we were referred for an outpatient appointment.
A few days after leaving hospital, we took George to his appointment feeling somewhat frustrated. We just wanted to enjoy our newborn bubble and didn’t need this “pointless” appointment as our baby could hear perfectly well. He failed this test again and we were referred to our local hospital for a different type of test. I remember saying to the woman, “Do we HAVE to have this testing? I’d know if my baby was deaf.” We were given the same line… that it’s probably fluid, but it’s better to have early intervention if there is a problem.
We had to wait a few weeks for the next appointment, and during this time we were constantly watching for any reaction to sounds, as the reality set in that maybe our baby did have a hearing loss. We noticed that his left ear seemed to be worse than his right, but we were still confident that he was responding to sounds.
At the appointment, they wired George up and began the testing. They went through different frequencies etc, giving us the result each time… “no response”. Our hearts shattered. At the end, the audiologist told us he has a severe to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and he would need hearing aids to start with, but long term it would be cochlear implants if that’s what we decide.
I cried all the way to my parents’ house knowing I had to go and tell our family that George is deaf. Thankfully, my family is supportive and reassured us that he’s still our perfect baby boy, this diagnosis has not changed him from who he was before it and it just makes him even more special to us all.
Daniel had to go back to work the next day, so I spent the morning in bed with George just crying – grieving the baby I thought I’d have, all the opportunities I didn’t think he’d have, grieving that he might never hear me say “I love you”.
After wallowing in my own self-pity, I pulled myself round and started researching everything. I found comfort in various social media profiles and the National Deaf Children’s Society’s family blogs – all showing babies and children living happy lives with hearing loss.
I realise now that part of this process is to allow yourself the time to grieve. George’s diagnosis was a total shock for us – we have no family history of hearing loss, and we really believed George to be hearing until his diagnosis. I can honestly say that now, eight months down the line, we wouldn’t change George for the world, and we’re so grateful we were chosen to be on this amazing journey with him!