I called Early Intervention to seek speech therapy for Miss Kat, and they asked me a very odd question. They asked "Have you had her hearing checked?" I said, "Yes, twice." She had passed her newborn screening in the NICU, and she had had a sleeping ABR at 6 months. The ABR had shown a slight loss in one of the ears but the doctor said that she was probably just coming down with a cold. The EI people wanted to make sure that she was hearing ok so they had me make an appointment for a hearing test at the Department of Health.
That night when I told J.D. what they said something clicked for him. He told me he was sure that she couldn't hear right. We sat on the couch and discussed it. Miss Kat toddled by and headed for the kitchen. When her back was turned to us, he called her name quietly. She didn't react, then he clapped his hands loudly. She whipped around. He grinned at her, and then turned to me and said, "See!"
I remember sitting in the waiting room at the Department of Health. I was confused and scared. We got called back to the testing area and Miss Kat sat on my lap. They had a little TV on the desk in front of me with the sound turned all the way down. Sesame Street was on. The lady put a soft little probe into Kat's ear and waited. She looked confused. She took the probe out and listened to it, and mutterd "Weird". She told me that the machine must not be working, so we would move on to the booth test.
In the booth, Miss Kat would listen for a sound and then when she reacted a little dog would dance for her. She loved it! Kat paid attention very well. I was pleased that it went well, but knew she didn't hear everything I did. The lady walked out and said "Well, that explains why she didn't pass the first test, she can't hear!"
She sat me down, back in front of Sesame Street. She explained that Miss Kat did, in fact, have a hearing loss. She told me it was only a moderate loss and Katrina was going to be fine. She said she would learn to talk and go to school like regular kids. She made an appointment for us with an audiologist at the children's hospital. She told me Miss Kat was going to need hearing aids, but it would all be fine.
I went home that night and cried. Why was more happening to my baby? Hadn't she had enough problems for one lifetime? What did her future hold? J.D. was again level-headed and very matter of fact about the whole thing. He said "She wasn't talking for one of two reasons. Either she was deaf, or stupid, which would you rather have?" This comforted me. Miss Kat was fine. She would be ok. She would get her hearing aids and be right back on tract. Everything was going to be fine.