Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 8:23:54 PM
Lesson: Shake off the dirt and step up.
In my experience, the best lesson I’ve ever learned came the day we discovered our newborn daughter was born with hearing loss.
The day after my daughter Meg was born, I was in the hospital, talking to the lactation specialist when a nurse interrupted us.
“Hi, I’m Nancy. Sorry to bother you. I know you are busy but I wanted to let you know your daughter didn’t pass her hearing test. It is probably just fluid in her ears.”
My husband walked to the end of the bed to gather another folder of papers and a few phone numbers. I had no idea babies even got hearing tests at such a young age.
A few weeks later, I wobbled into the hospital with my little girl in her infant carrier. We were taken into a dim room and several sensors were pasted to Meg’s head and neck.
Meg failed the test again.
A month later, we went for a VERY long test at the audiologist with more cords attached to my baby, more ranges, more numbers and more inconclusive data. It wasn’t until about three weeks later that Meg slept peacefully through the test at the Children’s Hospital. It was then that the audiologists told my husband and I that Meg was born with “permanent hearing loss.” They told us she was born with a moderate hearing loss meaning she could hear, but not clearly.
That night, while I cried, my husband told me a story about a man and his horse. The man loved his horse and would give anything for it. But, one day, the horse fell down a well. The man grabbed as many people as he could to help get the horse out, but nothing worked. The horse was stuck and would die soon.
In despair the man gathered the townspeople and they decided to shovel dirt in the well and bury the horse. As they shoveled dirt in, it fell across the horse’s back. The horse stood up, shook off the dirt, and took a step up on the mound of dirt he had just shaken off his back. Then another shovelful fell in and the horse again shook it off and stepped up. Step after step, the horse got higher and higher. Soon, the horse was able to clamber up and out of the well.
My husband smiled and said, “when we get dirt thrown on our backs, we can either choose to lay down and get buried or we can choose to step up.”
I remembered my grandma said I come from a long line of strong women. I knew Meg was not the type to get buried and neither was I.
Now people want to know about my daughter’s hearing aids. They also want to know why she is such a happy little girl. I can only say that she and her mother are strong and we have learned to step up.