Moore continued...

Having a deaf child was of concern to Blaine's father Since he himself was born deaf, and living in total silence was something he did not want for his newborn son. Tears streamed down his face in delight as the nurse said "yes, he can hear." However, this once joyous occasion soon turned to sadness in a matter of hours. The pediatrician came into my room early the next morning after Blaine was born and said they had moved him to PICU because of a respiratory problem. My fears of having a baby with Cystic Fibrosis once again surfaced. As Randy and I would sit in the PICU nursery and hold Blaine and talk to him, Randy would always ask the nurse or Doctor if they were sure Blaine could hear. Their reply was always the same reassuring "yes". Your child's hearing is perfect. However, on this particular day, we noticed that all the other babies cribs had stickers on them but Blaine did not have one on his. I asked the nurse what the stickers meant and she said that all the babies had their hearing tested that day and the reason Blaine did not have a sticker on his crib was because the machine broke before they could test him. That evening we went home to my parents house to rest and eat dinner.

We had only been home a few minutes when the phone rang. It was the neonatal pediatrician calling from PICU wanting to speak to the parents of Blaine Moore. Our hearts sank. We just knew that something horrible had happened to Blaine. When I got on the phone the pediatrician said "Mrs. Moore, I have some bad news about your son. We did a hearing test on him today and he is deaf. He cannot hear anything. The audiologist will be in tomorrow morning to talk with you." The whirlwind of emotions, questions, and anger over how this had all been handled is difficult to explain even to this day. Randy was devastated because he knew the hardships that would lie ahead for Blaine. I was so relieved they had not called to say that he died that being told he was deaf was actually a relief. The full impact of it did not really sink in until later that evening when we went back to the nursery to hold and feed him. As I was rocking him and singing to him and trying to comfort him with soothing words it hit me that he could not hear a thing I was saying to him. He could not hear the musical teddy bear we had brought for him. I felt like he was in pain and all alone and there was nothing I could do to help him. The next morning we met with the audiologist. We wanted to hear words of encouragement or at least be given some hope that our son could be helped. We asked about the cochlear implant at that time because we had heard about it several months ago thinking that maybe Randy might could be a candidate. We were told that it was not an option. She gave us the name of a hearing center and their phone number and said take him there. He will be fitted for hearing aids. Learn sign language as soon possible. Start finger spelling and signing. Immediately we took Blaine to this center where his hearing was tested again and he was found to be profoundly deaf. He was given the strongest hearing aids made for a 4-week-old baby. We asked them about the cochlear implant. They said we will look at him when he is 2. We will not know until then if he is even a candidate. It varies from child to child they said. He has the strongest hearing aids available. Learn sign language and finger spell. Then we were referred to our school district. We called them immediately and scheduled an appointment for the teacher to come to the house. They worked with Blaine, helping him learn to crawl, sit up, and be more aware of his surroundings. They also communicated with him (using sign language and finger spelling). We would always ask her about cochlear implants and she would just brush us off and said it was not an option. Finger spell and continue to learn sign language. By now Blaine is 16 months old and is not communicating at all and he is not responding with hearing aids. We learned sign language and we finger spelled. We continued to ask the hearing center and the school district and even the pediatrician about cochlear implants and the same reply was always given to us. He may not be a candidate wait until he is 2, continue to use sign language and one-day he will just pick it up and sign back to you. We never knew that there was a speech therapist or audiologist that worked with deaf children outside of the school system. We did not know that had he been seen by a physician who specialized in children's hearing problems that he would have already been in speech and would be making sounds and would be in the process of being readied for a cochlear implant for which he and all other children may be potential candidates. We learned this by accident when my mother started working for Dr. Peters at Dallas Otolaryngology. Randy and I brought Blaine in for a consultation. Not only did we find out that Blaine was a candidate but Randy was also. That was the first day of a new life for Randy and Blaine. Now they would have the chance to hear. Randy and Blaine both had their surgery on July 1999 and are making fabulous progress. The entire cochlear team that works with them weekly has been a blessing to us. Their lives have definitely been changed. The anger is sometimes overwhelming when I think of the time we lost and could have continued to lose in helping not only Blaine but also Randy be able to come out of a world of silence because we could not get any information from any source about the cochlear implants.

If you have a hearing impaired child please, please check into the cochlear implant yourself. Don't let the school district or deaf community try to influence a decision as important as your child's hearing. There are so many myths about the procedure and surgery that people are afraid to even approach the subject. Whether your child reads lips or signs or has a cochlear implant is your decision. Contact the Dallas Hearing Foundation if you have questions or call one of three surgeons in this area for a consult. The first time that we said Blaine's name and he turned and smiled, we knew we made the right decision. The first time Randy heard birds singing he knew he made the right decision. And we are eternally grateful for turning a world of silence into one of beautiful noise for our family.


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