On Tuesday 21st of January 2014 we heard something no parent ever wants to hear about their child, we found out that our perfect little boy is deaf.
This came as a huge shock to us both as Harry is a very alert and inquisitive baby and rather advanced for his age.
We had noticed he wasn't ever particularly bothered by loud noise around him especially when he was sleeping but we put this down to a lot of babies being quite content with noise.
Harry failed his newborn hearing screening that is given by the health visitor twice - we were told not to be concerned and that it's very common for new baby's to fail as their ears aren't always clear of mucus. We were reffered to the hospital where another screening was carried out which also came back with no clear response.. Again we were told this is quite common and we would just need to see an Audiologist to have a more intensive test.
We waited a whole month for our appointment and during this time Harry started smiling, cooing and making some lovely little noises just like any other baby! He also got into an amazing routine of managing to settle himself at bed time in his own room! We had no need for concern.
The day came for the Audiology appointment and upon stepping into the sound proof room we immediately realised that this test was very intensive and the situation may be more serious that we had previously thought. We had to make sure Harry was completely asleep so his brain activity was minimal to allow them to monitor sound waves. This in itself was a task as Harry is so used too napping in his cot in a dark room, not in a hot and stuffy hospital!
Once asleep the audiologist attached various leads to Harry's head (I HATED this) and tiny plugs into his ears.
The test lasted around an hour and a half and we spent the entire time nervously watching a lot of numbers and squiggly lines on a screen, not having a clue what we were looking at.
The conversation that followed was a blur, I didn't take in anything at all after the word "deaf", I think I pretty much sat and nodded a thousand times.
We don't yet know Harry's full diagnosis or what his level of hearing will be because he is still so young but it is almost certain that he will need to wear hearing aids for the rest of his life.
The current tests shows that he cannot hear at all and hasn't ever been able to. I think this is the thing that upsets us both the most, the fact he has never heard his mummy and daddy's voice. He didn't hear me talking away to him in my tummy, he didn't hear me sing all my silly "go to sleep Harry" or "give us a burp Harry" songs, and he didn't hear his Ewan the Dream Sheep which we thought was soothing him to sleep.
We spent the next couple of days non stop crying everytime we looked at our smiling little dude and I found it incredibly hard to leave him by himself. I suddenly started thinking he was lonely, scared and in pain even though he was the exact same baby that we brought home from the hospital. I have to keep reminding myself that he doesn't know any different, he's never heard before so couldn't possibly feel scared and the doctor reassured me that he isn't in any pain.
It's really important that we remain positive and try not to let little H pick up on any bad vibes from us. Babies really do feel it when something's not right so if I'm going to be sad about it I have been trying to do it in my own time. It's also so important that we continue to talk to Harry and hold him close so he can feel it heartbeats and the vibration of our voices. I have used our Baby Bjorn carrier SO much in the last few days to keep H close to my chest, which has been incredible. He absolutely loves being so snug and I can get on with things knowing he is safe and warm next to my skin.
We are so grateful for the newborn hearing screening program as everyday counts for a hearing impaired baby, the earlier it is diagnosed the better chance they have of being able to hear and develop normal language and speech. In the past parents wouldn't find out their child was deaf until 2 or 3 years old which is often too late as their speech and communication skills have already been highly affected.
In a few short weeks we hope to give Harry the gift of hearing with the help of hearing aids. We don't know yet if these will work but the audiologist seemed positive that they will be able to give him some sort of sound. I say a silent prayer every single night for my little boy and we will do whatever it takes to give him the very best chance in life.
I honestly would give that little lad my own ears if I could.
I just want to say thank you to those of you reading this who have sent us messages of support already. We were incredibly touched by the sheer amount of love there is out there for our Harry and we couldn't be more grateful to each and every one of you! We will of course keep you updated with his progress and hope to have more and more good news to post about, please keep your fingers and toes crossed for us!