Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Day We've Been Waiting For ... Is It Really Here?

It is finally here. Tomorrow Aiden's ears will be blessed with the miracle of cochlear implants. Tomorrow Aiden's surgeon will provide him with the opportunity to hear. Tomorrow is another step, a HUGE footprint, in our long journey to help Aiden hear and speak.

I will never forget the day almost ten months ago when they told me my son was deaf. All I could do was cry. and cry. and cry. Ten months ago I heard this term "cochlear implants" for the very first time. "WOW!", I thought. They'll simply surgically implant this "thing" in my baby's head and he'll hear! We went home and googled cochlear implants and saw the head gear Aiden will have to wear the rest of his life, a small price to pay for the gift of hearing, yet, we still cried. and cried. and cried. I gave myself time to grieve. I had to get it out. Then I jumped into learning all I could, got Aiden into therapies, got him his hearing aids, created a household that is rich in language acquisition, created an auditory-verbal environment that has become part of our everyday life ... and we've been going full force ever since.

My crying spells came fewer and fewer in between. Aiden blossomed into this child that you would never know was deaf, unless you screamed at the top of your lungs behind him and saw he had no reaction - none what-so-ever. Aiden has provided me this unbelievable strength, it is him and his WANT to hear, his DESIRE to explore, his DETERMINATION to do what he wants to do, that has kept me going. This kid is amazing. This kid is going to do amazing things.

So tomorrow's our day ... his day. I have emotions running wild inside of me. This is a day of no return. It scares me to death thinking of handing my baby over for a four to five hour surgery. I totally trust our surgeon ... which I still can't believe is the one I found 9 months ago, looked at my husband and said, "This is the man that needs to implant our baby." And he is. And he's one of the best. But even more so, I trust God. I thank Him everyday for Aiden and for making Aiden healthy in everyway. It was Him that put us here in Maryland and I have the utmost faith in Him.

We have also been so blessed this whole journey with love and support from family and friends and we thank ALL OF YOU! Some examples of the outpouring of love and support we get include:
  • My mom, she has been overly supportive throughout. She answers that phone everyday, even though she's working, to listen to me tell a funny Aiden story, or to let me vent, or to cheer me on through my tears. She has cried with me. She is one of my biggest supporters, sending learning toys, videos, books to Aiden to help in his therapy. She is my hero.
  • My mother-in-law, a very devout Catholic, is always letting us know all the prayers she has sent out for us and Aiden. She called the other day to let us know that tomorrow, Aiden's surgery day, is Our Lady of the Lords (Blessed Virgin Feast Day), which is the day of miracles. She is an amazing woman and I'm lucky to have her in my life!
  • Aiden's daddy's aunt, Sister Ann, is a retired nun. One of her teachers, Sister Julie Maria McDonald, is still alive, and has been praying for Aiden throughout his journey. We found out the other day, that Sister Julie Maria has spiritually adapted Aiden. We've never even met her, but Sister Ann has shared pictures with her. She took one of Aiden's pictures and sketched him in Jesus' arms. I can't wait to see it.
  • ALL of our family & friends have been in the cheering stands all along! Always asking how things are, sending prayers and good thoughts, giving hugs and sending love. WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU IN OUR LIFE!
  • All of my blog buddies. I have created some wonderful friendships through my blog mommies. I've learned from all of you. We've never met, yet there's such a connection. Your children have provided me so much hope! I cry as I watch videos of your babies hearing for the first time, speaking in complete sentences (at 2!), singing, dancing to music, doing things I thought my deaf child never would. YOU ALL ARE AMAZING! I can only hope to help others as you have helped me and that one day, another mommy will cry as she watches Aiden speak, and sing, and dance, providing her hope that her deaf baby will do the same one day.
Tomorrow is going to be a GREAT day, tomorrow we take another big step. Day by day, step by step. I've learned that this journey is not a sprint ... it is definitely a marathon ... and we have quite a ways to still go ... but we've had a great start ... with an amazing group of people cheering us on!

By the way ... on another note, the Nat. Geo. shoot went very well! Aiden was a true trooper, loving every bit of it! He even kept on his hearing aids for quite some time. The photographer came last night and spent a couple hours with us, then again today and spent the whole day here. He was great with Aiden and Aiden gave him a good show of his world. He signed light and eat, clapped his hands when I said "Yay" (with no visual cues), imitated me saying "mmmm" and "ahhhh", and of course, gave a ton of raspberries! They were very impressed with my little man, his nonverbal communication, and of course, his smile.

I don't know what I can say about the article yet, but I'll check on that tomorrow.

Also, just to let you know, Aiden's surgery is outpatient. We have to be there by 5:30am and they're supposed to start at 7:30am. The surgeon said it should be around 4 hours and that we should be home by dinner! I'll post as soon as I get a chance!


FutureBionicEar Mom said...

Good luck to you all and Aiden too. I will be praying for Aiden and your family. I am not that far behind Aiden, my surgery will be on March 10 a week before our kids' birthday. Dr. Niparko is also my surgeon.
Please let us know how things go when you get a chance.


Kel said...

Endless thoughts and prayers for today - I'll be stalking your blog non-stop I'm sure waiting to hear how it went! And I so know what you mean about the blog buddies, I have gotten through this first year of deafness so far by the stories and videos of those who've gone before us and hope to return the favor to another family one day. I know we ... or rather, our deaf babies ... will!

leah said...

Sending lots and lots of prayers your way. I have a feeling Aiden will be cruising around by tomorrow morning, and mom and dad are going to be wiped out! It won't be long until you can say "happy birthday" to his ears!

Bill and Shelly said...

You are in our thoughts and prayers today. It does not seem possible that 4 years ago, we were in the same place you are. Allison had just had her 1st ear done and was just activated. How far she has come.
I am looking forward to hearing all about the wonderful sounds Aiden is hearing.
This is just the 1st step in Aiden's journey to sound, but such an important one.

Christian's Mommy said...

Love and prayers always!