Friday, September 28

Monday is a BIG Day!

Monday is a big day in the lives of many of our CI friends. Landon and Kauan are having simultaneous cochlear implant surgery. Both boys are one year old. In fact, Drew and Landon both celebrated birthdays this week!

Also on Monday, Erin Toes is having her sequential bilateral cochlear implant surgery. She turned two in August.

We would appreciate it if you would say a little prayer for our Internet friends and their family as they go through surgery.

Sunday, September 23

One Year Ago

One year ago today, September 23, 2006, we were watching the Ohio State vs. Penn State football game at our friends' house. We had a great time eating, talking and watching our little girls (they have a little girl about 2 years older than Drew's sister) play together. We were all focused intently on our beloved Buckeyes as their quest for a National Championship marched on.

My friend and I were both nine months pregnant at the time, so at points during the game we were discussing our upcoming new additions, but overall, we were just concerned with an Ohio State victory! I know my friend and I were both hoping we would go into labor well before our due dates (which were in mid-October), but little did I know that my water would break in the wee hours of that night. I certainly know that none of us watching the game together that day had concern over our baby-to-be's hearing. It's amazing how a year can change things.

I did not know while enjoying a Buckeye victory what this year would have in store for my family. The countless doctor appointments, hours of Internet research on deafness, cochlear implants and oral deaf education, therapy appointments with Help Me Grow, Early Intervention and MR/DD, just to name a few. It has been an emotionally draining and physically exhausting year in so many ways. Yet when I sit here reflecting on Drew's first year, I just keep thinking, "We Made It!"

We made it. We pushed on each day despite being devastated that our son could not hear. We got over the "why" questions, although they still do surface every once in a while. We made it through hearing aid trials, evaluations, therapies, surgery and Cochlear Implant activation day. We have experienced the changes in Drew since his surgery. The remarkable change in his balance (he could sit up the day after his surgery!), the change in his personality (it's really exploding!) and the change in his language (obviously!). The last three months have been truly remarkable and made those early, worrisome, sleepless days so worthwhile!

What would I change? I have been asked this question a lot over the past couple of weeks. I'm not quite sure why, but it has surfaced. It's an interesting thing to consider, since there is really no way to change anything. But if I could, what would I change? The answer is easy, really. I would change nothing. You see, if I were to change something (like to give Drew hearing) it would change the Drew I know and I can not imagine him any other way. He has the most beautiful eyes, the most infections smile and his laughter makes me forget about everything going on in the world around me. He is my Drew and I love him just the way he is. He is his own individual; happy and unique in his own little way. He is everything I wasn't expecting and everything I needed all in one handsome little boy. He has taught me to appreciate the smallest, most ordinary things that I would usually have taken for granted.

My Brother-In-Law wrote me a letter a couple of weeks ago and ended with "the juice is worth the squeeze." We have been emotionally drained at times, frustrated, sad, exhausted, overwhelmed and we have even questioned God at times. We have been humbled by the support we have received from family, friends, teachers and doctors. We have met so many wonderful people that would never have come into our lives without this experience. This year has been joyous, happy and has flown by. Most importantly, this year has been so rewarding for me and all of those that have helped to get Drew to his first birthday! I have loved every minute of being Drew's Mom (even when he was wide awake at 2 AM!) and feel blessed to have him as my son.

As I celebrate Drew's first birthday, the juice is better than I could have imagined!

Thursday, September 13

Imitating Sounds

Two and a half months ago our little boy could not hear anything! O.K., Maybe he could hear a jet engine sitting right next to his ear, but for all intense and purposes, he couldn't hear. But two months after bilateral cochlear implant surgery we are singing a different tune. Our boy can hear, and not only that, he is learning to talk! Cochlear implants are truly amazing.

Drew can growl...and I ain't lion!

Here Drew is imitating sounds while eating:

I am so excited about the progress Drew has shown in only two months. He is imitating new sounds daily and is constantly "talking". We have now heard /m/, /ah/, /e/, /g/, and /k/ sounds. He is imitating non-speech sounds like tongue clicking, kissing and raspberries. If you ask him, "Drew what does a cow say?," he will repeat back the /m/ sound for "moo." He is showing receptive language at nine months and expressive language at six months of age. Not bad for a little boy with a hearing age of two and a half months.

There are times daily when both Drew's Dad and I stop what we are doing to watch our little boy hear. (That sounds funny, but we really do watch him hear!) Yesterday we were sitting on the couch watching the evening news and Drew had crawled to the front door, out of our sight. I called out, "Drew, come here please." Then I waited. It took just a few seconds and around the corner came my little boy. It is just amazing.

We are looking forward to what the next two and a half months will bring. Hopefully we'll hear "Mama" and "Dada". What a moment that will be.

Thursday, September 6

Pavarotti's Passing

Today Luciano Pavarotti, the legendary tenor passed away. In reading the news, I found Pavarotti singing Ave Maria on YouTube and began to listen.

Our daughter was focused on watching The Wiggles and didn't notice, but about a minute into the song I felt eyes upon me.

Drew was sitting on the floor to my right and was staring directly at the little window with Pavarotti in the middle of a note. Over all the background noise, he determined that he wished to hear Lucianone sing. As the music continued, I took a moment to watch him, realizing that this little moment was a small bonus in life. Something I never thought I'd be able to share with my son.

Drew will never know Pavarotti (and I myself don't know much about him), and he certainly won't remember this little moment. But I will. Thank you Mr. Pavarotti.

Sunday, September 2

Drew's First Consonant!

Drew had a milestone today. Drew's first consonant, drum roll please, is /g/. We were talking to him after his nap this afternoon when he broke out the /g/ sound. At first we weren't sure, but he repeated it several times for us.

Drew even had a sing song conversation with Daddy using the /g/ sound over and over. Drew's Dad would say "ahhh gooo" and then Drew would repeat it. Then Drew's Dad would say "ahhh" and Drew would say "goo". We had so much fun this afternoon listening to him repeat the sound over and over.

Drew's language now includes the following sounds: /ah/, /m/, /e/ and now /g/. Not bad for a baby with a hearing age of a two month old!

Saturday, September 1

Drew Loves The Ohio State Buckeyes!

Drew is ready for the start of College Football season and is a huge supporter of The Ohio State Buckeyes. Watch Out! He's about ready to tackle you!

Go Bucks!
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