As weeks off on maternity go I’ve had quite some variety but, this one has to be an odd one. For the last couple of months I’ve been noticing that my little girl’s behaviour has changed. She would ignore me whilst I was doing her hair, whenever her dad and I tried to reason with her she would fly off the handle really quickly and she was forever saying ‘what’. All perfectly reasonable toddler habits I’m sure you will agree which was the view of everyone around me. She also had started to ask for things like the iPad, CD player and TV to be turned up when in fact it was loud enough for anyone to hear it!
Even though I was being told by people around me it’s just a phase it’s nothing to worry about I just couldn’t stop watching her closer and closer seeing that it seemed she was struggling with her hearing. As we have a newborn in the house we had a visit from the health visitor so I pipped that as my opportunity to talk to someone about it. I explained to the health visitor what I’d noticed and she said she would get us referred to the hospital for a test. Amazingly only a few days later I got a call from our local hospital audiology department with a cancellation but I had my little boy’s immunisations booked at the same time so we had to wait for another appointment.
The day came this week on Wednesday that we would go to have the hearing test, it worked out quite well as my mother in law is off on a Wednesday so I had some moral support and someone to help with the little fella. I can’t even tell you how thankful I was that she was with me! I hadn’t really thought about the test in the run up, when you have two I think you go from one thing to another in the moment without a chance to even take in what’s happening. We even went to playgroup in the morning, Cordy had lunch with her Nanna while I zipped to work for a retirement buffet before we headed for the hospital.
Even on the way there I wasn’t nervous, I used to hate hospitals, particularly this one, but since having my two babies I’ve had no choice but to deal with hospital trips! We parked up and went and found the part of the hospital we needed. When we got to the waiting room we were greeted with Kerrang on the waiting room TV I did find that quite an odd choice in a hospital waiting room! Cordy decided to entertain herself lining up the small plastic chairs and laying books on each one of them like a school before sitting in the middle of the row and indulging in a Christmas book! She is so much like her dad.
The man doing the test came out to get us and spoke to Cordelia to bring her into the room. You could tell immediately he was testing her hearing. It was odd being back at audiology with her, when she was born her tiny premmie ears hadn’t been able to fit the newborn hearing test equipment so we had to come here for her newborn test to be done again but it was fine.
We went into the room which felt like a sauna and my mother in law sprang straight into action (thankfully) and took my little boy off my hands. The man asked questions about what had made me ask for the referral and then played games with Cordy to test her hearing. This was when it hit me. He played noise through a small device and Cordy had to place little wooden people into a boat when she heard the sound. He started relatively loud and she was doing as she should and then came the lower noises, they would sound and she would sit looking at the man waiting to hear it, but she didn’t. I looked to my mother in law and she indicated she had heard the sound as well.
The test then switched to a headband device that was put on her head to make noises directly behind her ear but at this point Cordy wasn’t comfortable so we had to talk to her and try and distract her attention while I held the small device up to her head behind her ear. I could feel myself getting more and more tense, probably not helped by how warm it was in the room. She seemed to get on with it but she definitely wasn’t happy. It’s difficult when you know the medical people need to do what they need to do but your child is unhappy. The man doing the test was fabulous with her and the next part of what he needed to do he got her to help him press the buttons on the testing machine while he placed a small monitor in her ear. Anyone who gets Cordy involved is on to a sure fire win with her!
He then let her play while he took me through the results of the test. As I had seen, her reaction to the noises through the hand device test showed that she has severe hearing loss. For the level she should hear she was 4 levels of sound above that before she could hear. He also tested her ear drum which should vibrate in order to transmit the sound but unfortunately Cordy’s did nothing. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. When I got the referral I kind of hoped that it would be that I was just a mum panicking and she was a normal toddler ignoring her parents or she had developed a habit of saying what. But it’s not to be.
We now have to wait for an appointment with ear, nose and throat to see what the options are. Get a hearing aid, or have an operation to put grommits in. An operation that I hear people constantly say hasn’t worked for their child. There may be other options available to us but we won’t know about those until our next appointment, which can’t come soon enough.
Since the test only 2 days ago I’ve felt this pain, a feeling I can’t shift. I feel so guilty for my baby girl. I went into her bedroom this morning and she was just sat staring forward, no reaction from the opening of the door. Little things I was living with before the test that now hurt me so much to see. I feel like I want to wrap her in cotton wool now, which is crazy because she is such a confident, social and happy little person but I even felt like I didn’t want to take her to pre-school yesterday! Which is so unlike me. My patience with her has also improved which is only a good thing. I said to my best friend she must think we have gone mad one minute she is always being told off (if she ever heard us tell her off) next minute all we want to do is cuddle her.
I know these days things can be done so easily to fix it and she has been living with the issue for much longer than the days we have known about it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.