My Son Was Born Deaf

Jude, age 2 at the Tulip Time Festival in Pella.

Like most mothers, I began preparing for my little one’s arrival the moment I knew I was expecting. I read all the books, took all the classes, and endlessly scoured the internet for everything baby related. I was ready… or so I thought.

Early Concerns

The day of my son’s delivery was perfect. I slept through most of my labor and brought Jude into the world with two big pushes. He nursed immediately and his measurements were all healthy.

The final test to complete before we were discharged was the newborn hearing screening. I watched as the examiner placed little headphones over my sleeping baby’s ears and attached several wires to his head. “The wires measure the brain’s response to sound,” she explained. As this was a standard newborn screening and my son was otherwise healthy, I assumed I had little reason for concern. 

At the conclusion of the screening, I was met with the devastating news that Jude had failed. They assured me it was likely due to fluid in his ears and scheduled Jude for a retest in 2 weeks to confirm. 

The Diagnosis 

As I settled into life with a newborn, I began to doubt the possibility of my son being Deaf. My baby is healthy in every other way and he responds to sounds at home, I told myself. Plus, I’m young and healthy. My pregnancy was healthy and to term. Everything is going to be fine.

I walked into that follow-up visit with a false sense of confidence that quickly dwindled with each passing minute

At the conclusion of the screening, I was informed Jude had failed for a second time. As the reality of the situation set in, my world felt as it were crumbling around me. 

My son is Deaf.

I remember feeling so angry that God would do this to my baby boy. I wanted to scream, cry, throw something- anything to wake myself up from this nightmare. However, I knew I didn’t have the privilege to grieve my son’s diagnosis. As a single mom, I had to be strong for Jude because I was all he had.

I turned to the physician and asked, “What do we do next?” 

After a referral to the Audiology Department at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Jude was diagnosed with a bilateral, mild to moderate hearing loss. It was also determined that his loss is progressive. 

Jude’s Hearing Journey 

Jude received his first set of hearing aids when he was 2 months old. From that point forward, our days were filled with speech therapy, Audiology, and ENT appointments. By the age of 2, Jude had experienced over half a dozen ear infections and multiple ear tube surgeries. 

Jude “driving” to his Cochlear Implant Surgery

As his loss continued to progress, Jude’s right ear began to require assistance beyond the capacity of his hearing aid. While the fear of a major surgery and its risks loomed over my head, I knew hearing and spoken language were what Jude loved. After consulting with his medical team and anxiously reading every piece of research I could get my hands on, I decided to proceed with a Cochlear Implant (CI).

In December 2020, Jude underwent surgery for his first CI and yes, I sobbed like a baby as they wheeled him away. 

Despite a challenging recovery, Jude’s surgery was a big success and a new chapter in his hearing journey. 

Waking up post-surgery. Jude was in a lot of pain, so there were plenty of tears and mom snuggles!

What’s Next?

In sharing my story, I hope to educate those who are new to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing culture and establish a community for those navigating similar journeys.

Check back next month as I continue to share my life as a mother to a Deaf child. 

Tell me in the comments, what aspects of Jude’s hearing journey would you like to learn more about?


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