Braving the Wilderness

“True belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we BE who we are.” #bravingthewilderness, Brene Brown

This post is opening myself up to vulnerability.  As Renee and I have launched The Homestead Haven, there is one thing we want to ensure and that is to be true to who we are both individually and with our families.  We want to ensure we’re not portraying our lives to be any different that what they TRULY are.  We all have something that we are going through or have already experienced which will shape us into the individuals we are meant to be.

With that being said, I want to share a story and I’ll try to be brief.  I’m certainly not making any promises.

Our second born, Graham, came into our lives on 9/22/16.  If his delivery is any indication of the whirlwind that would follow, I can look back now and say it is a perfect parallel.

In the state of NC, the infant hearing screening is required before being discharged.

Graham failed.  Twice.

We were told it was too much fluid because the delivery was so fast and we would likely confirm that at his follow up, 2 weeks later.  I still had a pit in my stomach.  We were leaving the hospital without all the boxes checked off as “perfect” (or passed).  There was something left unknown that I nervous about.  Why had my son not just passed his hearing screening?  Everyone told me “it will all be alright, he’s going to be fine.”  I heard those words being repeated by so many, yet, my heart did not believe that would be the end result.

I’m usually very optimistic in life and tend to try to see the positive in every situation, the silver lining so to speak.

I basked in the sweetness of my newborn baby boy and adjusting to life with two.  Life with two was an easy adjustment for our family.  Everything seemed to transition smoothly and it certainly helped that big brother was thrilled about having a baby brother.

Graham’s 2 week follow up came quickly.  He was fairly cooperative and ultimately passed in one ear and still deferred in the other.  These results were considered inconclusive in the medical field which means you have to see a specialist for further testing.

The pit returned to my stomach.  I cried the moment I walked out of the hospital doors.  I called my husband and I cried, I mean, I really boohooed.  I could hardly talk…that kind of cry.  I called my mom, cried out to her.  Still, everyone said “he’s going to be fine, don’t worry.”  I remember telling my mother, “I knew in my heart this would happen.  I just knew this was going to be the result.”  I could hear she was crying on the other line with me.  That’s what mother/daughters do.  You cry together but if you’re not with each other physically, you try not to let the other hear you crying too.

I hung up the phone and literally cried out “WHY? Haven’t we been through enough this year?!”  If you’re close friends/family, you already know we experienced great heartache and loss of two beloved family members.

In the days leading up to this appointment, I prayed endlessly.  I prayed that Graham would pass the screening, 3rd time’s a charm, and we would go home and continue life as I’d always imagined.  I do remember feeling as if God answered my prayer and told me that it would be okay.

My struggle was accepting that this result was okay.  I was not okay with this being the answer to my prayers.

Here’s the thing, Grace saved me as it has time and time again.

What followed the 3rd hearing screening was a slew of miscommunication, being refereed to a specialist that didn’t have the equipment for an ABR Read More, the tests they were able to perform ultimately resulted in being inconclusive, again, then we were referred to UNC Chapel Hill only to have to wait 1 month to see the specialist to have the testing done that should have already been done at the previous appointment.  I tried to keep my composure on the surface but deep down, my heart was breaking in two and we didn’t have results at this point.

The long awaited 3 hour appointment day came.  Our newborn baby boy had a full belly of milk and was sound asleep.  Both are ideal to conduct a sleep ABR screening.  He slept in my lap the whole time.IMG_0461

The testing wrapped up.  Graham’s audiologist stepped out to print off the results and came right back into the room.  The moment she walked in and shut the door was the exact moment I knew my heart had been right all along.  She delivered news that Graham had mild-moderate bilateral hearing loss.  (Months later we learned his hearing loss is due to Connexin 26.  Who knew…my husband and I both carry a recessive gene that paired up for this pregnancy and resulted in the gene mutation.)

His audiogram was all over the place but he primarily had a loss with high frequency sounds.  Think, s’s, t’s, distinguishing between words like path, pass… hearing leaves rustling off in a distance, birds singing off in a distance….all things that he can’t hear naturally unless they are loud enough for him to detect.

We decided to move forward with getting him fitted for ear molds right after receiving the diagnosis. Just 2 weeks later, he was fitted with his hearing aids and it was at that appointment when the first hearing aid was put in his ear, I remember thinking to myself, “that fits him, that’s meant for Graham.”

That was my acceptance.

To this day, I still have moments when I feel my heart break in two when I think about his diagnosis.  We have come a LONG way since his diagnosis. He is a thriving 13 month old who has hit and surpassed every milestone for his age and above.

Graham is perfect and is just as God intended for him to be.

By choice, we have an intervention teacher who comes to our home bi-weekly AND we meet with his speech pathologist via webinar weekly through a program at UNC called REACH.  If you don’t know, the intervention teacher is part of a state program.  Our tax dollars at work people.  The UNC program is currently funded by a grant and I can tell you right now, the benefits of giving to nonprofits and similar organizations has impacted our lives tremendously.  The value-add his teacher has given our family is SO GREAT. Family phot

Graham is my teacher.  His older brother is also my teacher.  The beauty in all of the unknown is that there are great lessons to learn in this life.  Stay humble.  Try to live a life that is about more than having and more about doing for others and living in the moment.  Live simply.  Be YOU.

If you made it this far, scroll back to the top and reread the quote from Brene Brown.  If you don’t know her as an author, you should.  Go get any of her books.

Make today great.


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