Tuesday, January 27, 2009
As it should be
Two months and one day, that's how long its been since Adele' found home in my arms, not my womb.
62 nights...that's how many nights I've sung lullabyes, stroking and rocking her as warm milk filled her-nourishing her through the night all the while wondering if she might actually be able to hear my songs and love whispers.
You see...I've held a secret for quite some time. A secret that for a while, I had to clutch and protect, keeping it only for me, so that I might grasp at its truth and understand. The truth had to be worked through before the words would have meaning, before the jumble of thoughts in my head might be strung from my lips into tangible form.
The secret that would divide my lullabyes from comforting my child, that would hinder me from hearing the prayers offered up on the lips of a child-or her understanding my prayers for her. A secret that might separate a darling girl from those around her who can not or try not to understand. One that makes her different, and us as a family. One that might steal from her the whispered "I love you's" that so easily fly from my lips. That she might not HEAR.
When Adele' was born, there was not a thing about her I did not find endearing in every way. Her curled ear was no exception. When her first hearing test failed in that ear, I was assured it could just be because I delivered her SO quickly; her ear probably still had fluid in it, causing her not to respond. I made an appointment for a repeat test a week later. As the days passed, her ear began to uncurl and it even made me sad to see it go, but oddly enough, I noticed it still looked different than her left ear.
Meanwhile, her impending hearing appointment approached and we made our way to the audiologist.
Again, she failed.
Her right ear showed absolutely no response to the little clicking sounds and her left ear responded only about 1/3 of the time. The woman was very kind, but not very encouraging. She spoke about hearing aids for infants (starting at 3 months old!) and of the difficulties we would probably face. My head was spinning, twirling at the possibility of a deaf child. But smile I did, chuckle and laugh to hide the pain, because I had four other small ears to think about.
The screener recommended we go right away to an ear specialist for a more invasive test but I couldn't bear it. I knew another newborn screening would likely prove futile, and only postpone the inevitable, but that was a shred of hope that I clung to with fervency. So, the screener smiled and sent me home after scheduling yet another appointment through tight-lipped, obvious doubt and called after me that I might try banging pots and pans and see if she startled at all.
I came home, laid the children to rest, and then I tested on my own. I waited until she slept and then I banged anything I could. Not a flinch or a blink. I'd clap my hands right beside her ears, and while my hands stung, she slept peacefully. The harder I banged, the more upset I became, until I just broke down-sobs heaving my body and thoughts tormenting my soul. I thought about how she might never know my voice. How every kick in-utero that I thought was in response to my voice, was just a cruel joke. How futile it might be to even bother cooing at her. How would I homeschool a deaf child? Knowing everything from praying at dinner to worshipping at church would be DIFFERENT, harder. That I might never be able to hear her tell stories or sing songs. That I might not be able to soothe and comfort her. These thoughts drove me mad.
Her funny little curled ear, the one that I had found so adorable, now mocked me. I hated it because it might be the reason why she couldn't hear.
But every night as I tucked my swaddled Bunkin into her cradle, I would glance up and there was the writing on the wall, wall promises echoing in my mind. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made...
I had placed them there in anticipation and excitement for the coming child. Was it any different now? Certainly not. I didn't know back then, that these words were Gods very own comfort to my soul, His reminder to me that HE is the creator and HE has a perfect plan.
I realized that while a lack of hearing might be a hardship-it might also be the means to make Adele's lifestory even more profound. It might be a gift.
Many a tear was shed, but each time I began to fret I reminded myself that, more than anything else---Adele' was HERE. She was with me. I didn't have to say goodbye to her, or watch her die as some mothers have had to live through. I didn't have to mourn her growing old without being able to function in society, as some can not. With each thought, my heart filled with just a bit more thanksgiving until, one day I realized, it was full.
From the first moment my eyes fixed on my Bunkin, I have adored her. Knowing that she might not hear those words from me has only spurred me to show it more often. I don't know of any child who has been more kissed than my Adele'. I hold her with more gentleness than I've ever held a baby and I feel my eyes sparkle all the more when I am with her. I can not look at her without smiling. And her ear? It has been given proper admiration again---and lots of nibbles.
The screener, on that day long ago, said there was a very slim possibility that things could change. She wasn't a very good actress and I knew she really didn't believe it. But I know, that there IS a chance that her ear can hear or be healed. Nothing is impossible with God. I also know, that while it is possible, there might be a very good reason for Adele' to not be able to hear and I will not pretend that I am more wise than God.
It happens, that Adele's most favorite thing is to put her head under my chin and rest it against my neck. She quiets when I sing that way. I don't know if it is my voice that soothes or the vibrations from my neck, but nonetheless, she finds comfort with me. I am able to soothe her with my kisses, and looking at her with the love that I feel for her causes her to smile with such sparkling eyes that my heart just melts. I felt before that I couldn't mother her well, if she couldn't hear me. I know now that this is not true. Because a mother needs only one thing to mother well, LOVE, and I have that in abundance.
This week is her third and final test before it is "insisted" that she see an audiologist. I have prayed many times, too many to count, that she pass this test. That she be able to hear and this all to be a bad dream. But somewhere, somehow, sometime that I can't put my finger on~my prayer has changed to what it ought to have been the whole time.
THY WILL BE DONE.
I can honestly say~no matter what the result~ I will be happy. I will be content. and I will be THANKFUL for the gift of that dear girl.
She is my little Gremlin and she is GOD'S masterpiece.