Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Journey - Micah and Cochlear Implants - Update

It has been a long difficult road for me. I say me, because everyone around me always seemed to know their decision on something I have had such a difficult time with.
Everyone else seems sure of what is best, or what is right.
I felt alone for a long time, trying to figure out what was best for Micah.
Trying to deal with my fears and issues around such an invasive procedure, and trying to decide if implanting Micah takes anything away from his beautiful Deaf identity and culture.
I researched, met people, dug and dug and dug, and waited for an answer.
I was anti-implant for a long long while, and on the fence for a long while.
As you know I spoke to many families, and learned all I could about Deaf culture and implants.
At one point, I saw another family that we know at the hospital about to implant their little baby girl, and I had another complete panic attack in the hospital, silently, without anyone knowing, and as I walked away from them as they went in to activate their childs implant, I started to sweat, and freak out and tears poured down my face as if they were doing something to harm and change her.
I thought to myself,
one less Deaf mentor.
Then I realized something a few days later, when I saw her again and she was laughing and smiling
and doing great.
That only her parents know, what is best for their child
Only her parents know because they love her and their decision was guided by love. Whatever their decision was. Because they are her parents, and we have to trust our instincts when we make a decision for our child, it is always out of love.
So my feelings changed.
 I know these people, they didn't implant her because they didn't want to learn her language, or culture, they are fluent signers.
They are deeply immersed in Deaf understanding, culture and language, and they didnt want to change her to make life easier on themselves, they just wanted to give her more.
More opportunities.
Not that Deaf people have less opportunity, anyone can do anything, but the set of opportunities for people that have access to sound can be a little different for hearing world and Deaf world.
Not better, not worse, just different.
Last weekned, Teihani and I went to Vegas for my 35th birthday.
We sat down in the Venetian to enjoy some delightful pastries from the Bouchon Bakery and next to us there was a little girl about 2 years old, gleefully singing at the top of her lungs, mimicking the canal singer that was belting out something in Italian while steering the little gondola down
the man-made canal.
Singing and singing and singing while Teihani and I giggled and talked about how she would be a future singer.
I came across a thought, that Micah could have been next to the little girl and not hear the gondola singer, not hear her, not hear us laugh and be in a silent moment, a peaceful beautiful one, but a silent one nonetheless, or in any park surrounded by children, who don't sign or know any ASL. I envisioned him frustrated because trying to communicate with them that he wants to play or be friends, and I won't always be there to advocate at every moment. I know he will be capable of
finding a way. But I want him to feel a part of things, like a part of the groups he encounters.
Not alone.
He needs to be able to meet new friends in the middle.
My prior thoughts about this were that he would be in a Deaf school anyways and that he will always have Deaf friends, but I cannot and will not isolate him and limit his social circles so that he wont feel out of place. I want him to be a part of every kind of social circle and not feel frustrated when he wants to communicate.
I am his Mother and I just want to give him any opportunity I can and I want to support his decision whatever they may be as he grows up. If he ever says, Mom, I dont want or need this implant. I will help him throw it off of a mountain and will not question his decision.
Afterall, no matter what, we can communicate with him using ASL- he is Dead and always will be Deaf, with or without his implant and to us he is perfect, just the way he is.
We are going to give him the opportunity to access sound.
Next step: picking an implant device...

Cochlear? Med-El?

I am going to go and faint now, pardon me.... ugggffmfsmsmms

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