On Friday I learned that the test that SJ will be having is called the ABR screening, which stands for auditory brainstem response. From what I have researched they will be placing electrodes on SJ’s head and earbuds in her ears. Sounds will then be transmitted at different levels to determine how the brain reacts to the variety of frequencies. This test is especially crucial for children under 3 since behavioral test are just not dependable at this age, however the conclusion of both tests should support each other in order to be considered accurate. So we have one test (the Visual Reinforcement Audiometry) that shows SJ cannot hear and test number 2 will either confirm this to be true, or prove that she is a finicky toddler that wants to make us all go insane.
Awaiting the ABR
I admit to having repeatedly reviewed what I think all of the possible outcomes of this screening will be. They roll through my mind like a mental dress rehearsal, except for they are far more nerve racking than some piddly school play.
In the first scenario they tell me they detected virtually no hearing loss at all. You might be thinking that I would respond by jumping up and down, or letting out a sigh of relief, but this is not the case. If her hearing is not the problem then it just means we have to pursue other avenues for early intervention. Before now it was just a tiny little concern about delayed speech, but with the newfound lack of responsiveness we realize it’s bigger than that.
Another scene that plays out in my mind is one where I learn that she has “x amount” of hearing loss, but will function and develop just fine with some minor interventions.
The final possibility is that they tell us that our daughter has severe hearing loss and we begin the life long journey of how to enable her to succeed to the fullest despite any diagnosed disabilities.
So those are the three options in my mind, but the reality is that there are probably countless combinations of outcomes, and no matter how much I practice my reactions I don’t really know how to prepare for this at all.
From the moment I wake up until I drift to sleep it’s in the forefront of my mind, but so is my marriage, so is my relationship with God, my pregnancy, and my two incredible children that don’t even realize that we are waiting for any diagnosis. I know that life is still going. My challenge for the next month* while awaiting this test, is to fight against my one track mind. I commit to trying to live in the midst of all of the uncertainty, not to ignore or deny it, but just to adapt to my current situation. Maybe I need to feel inadequate right now in order to be reminded of my dependance on the God that is in control of all of this. I know I am not big enough, I am just not, but He is and I am counting on that.
* It’s a long story, but somehow the May 4th testing was scheduled to be non sedated. They were going to see how she does and if it doesn’t go well then we have to start back at square one! I know she will more than likely NOT cooperate while they attach things all over her head and ask her to lay still for a couple hours. She is barely two! This was unacceptable to me. The best I could do (along with help from the wonderful surgery coordinator from the ENT office) was to schedule a back up test for May 10th where they give her anesthesia. This is better than waiting until June or longer. Anyway, that’s the latest.