Today we had Ellie’s hearing test. We journeyed to the hospital for our third hearing test. She passed her newborn screen a year ago. Children with Down Syndrome have complications involving hearing for several reasons, one being inadequate fluid drainage. Ellie does not have hearing loss but it’s recommended she have regular testing to determine if fluid build up is interfering with her ability to hear. Unfortunately, as with her last test, this one was inconclusive. The test involves putting probes in her ears that ring different tones at different volumes. If she turns her head towards the sound, she can hear it. This test also involves a bit of development which she may not be ready for. She was far more interested in the strangeness of the room we were in than the test. She also is recovering from a cold so there is fluid in her ears right now. As she grows we will need to watch and make sure the drainage is draining. We will most likely be referred to an ENT, just to watch her, but we’ll be back in 3 months to perform the test again. Hoping for better results next time.
After the hearing test we made our way to the 4th floor to visit the NICU. I wanted to visit the NICU for a few reasons, to show off Ellie, to see nurses who became my friends, and to gather some perspective. As I parked in the hospital parking lot today I saw myself this time last year, in the midst of Ellie’s time in the NICU. I was in a whole different place then, in the thick of the darkness. I knew we would make it out, but I couldn’t see how yet. The NICU still smelt the same, hand sanitizer permeating the air, beeping machines, tired parents, and the strong feeling of children fighting. Ellie seemed so big in that room. The nurses hugged and held her, marvelled at her size and her smile, praised the beauty of her heart surgery scar. I looked around the room and last year felt so far away. I looked at our old bed and pictured myself rocking Ellie to sleep. Parents who had been through the NICU would tell me the heartache you feel in there will minimize with time and I didn’t believe them, but it’s true. I met two mothers who gazed at Ellie with hope in their eyes. I told them congratulations and that their babies were beautiful (which they are) and I said things will get better. I’m not sure they believed me because time in that room seems magnified, but as I left the hospital I held Ellie tight. I stood in the elevator and kissed her sweet head, so much can change in a year. How truly blessed we are.