Waiting

Josh saw the audiologist at St. Paul Children’s again on Monday. He failed his sixth OAE. His tympanogram is, however, indicating fluid. Only one tympanogram so far didn’t indicate fluid–so was that one a fluke or was it a clue that Josh’s hearing loss is not conductive? In any event, they didn’t do another ABR. We are, instead, being sent back to the ENT. This time, however, we are seeing a pediatric ENT who specializes with young infants. We will see her in two weeks. I am happy about this as I was not thrilled with our first ENT. He couldn’t have had much experience with hearing loss in infants because he felt compelled to tell us that he “knew what we were going through” as his son had failed his newborn OAE on one side. I instantly thought, “no, you don’t have any idea what I am going through” with a son who has failed four tests (at the time) bilaterally. I thought it completely inconsiderate and lacking in good form for him to even try to associate his experience with our experience.

Anyway, it seems as if this whole early intervention thing has been for us an exercise in “hurry up and wait.” At this point, they have decided that if there is fluid, it is not clearing on its on, so we need to take action–likely surgery to open the ear drums with a small incision to drain the fluid and then the insertion of tubes. After that has been done, we’ll have another OAE. If Josh passes that OAE, they’ll know it was mainly conductive loss. If he doesn’t pass, then it is back to an ABR (a sedated one this time), for some more investigation.

Chris and I are anxious to get rolling with this process. It’s hard to understand the purpose of early intervention when so far, there really hasn’t been any intervention–except maybe intervention in mine and Chris’s brains in the form of stress and worry. At this point, we are hoping for some answers before Josh is sixth months old so that, if there is loss that cannot be resolved, we can start to amplify the sound he is receiving so that the impact on his language development is minimized. Already, I worry that he is missing out on critical language development time

I really need to do more yoga. Whenever I am actively engaged in the daily practice of yoga, I tend to favor sun salutations. I like to move. I like to feel progress. I don’t like to just sit down on the floor with my tight hamstrings and try, once again, to do a forward fold. I grow impatient with my stiff body, that never seems to yield. But I guess that’s not the point of yoga. Yoga is all about being where you are and allowing your body to be where it is; accepting where it is. And even if I can only fold my mind deeper into the bend, that is enough–even if my hamstrings are still screaming with resistance. I have been told that when a person practices yoga, it is good to engage in those poses that you most resist–for some, that is standing poses or inversions. For me, it is sitting poses. I am reminded today that I would do well to start up my yoga practice again. I think it would also help me with the relative “slowness” of being home with a baby.

I am so used to the corporate world. I sort of enjoyed the pace of my job as Publisher. I’d come into the office and never know what I’d face each day. The best days for me were the ones where I had four to five phone calls from authors with issues that needed immediate resolution, on top of two-three meetings. I thrive under pressure. At the end of the day (which came so quickly), I could look back and recognize all that I had accomplished. Now, by 4:00 each day, I am just waiting for Chris to come home. I may look back at the day and see that I’ve spent another three hours rocking a baby and I’ve changed countless diapers. And I’ve moved Josh from play station to play station, trying to carve out 10 minutes here to answer emails or 15 minutes to read someone’s blog. It is very slow moving. The slowness seems somehow punctuated in the hours between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. I told Chris last night that these are my most difficult two hours of the day, aggravated now by the fading winter light. Yesterday, I tried to camp out with Josh in the basement during this time, to avoid the darkening sky that seems to close in around me at that time of day. But then Josh had a messy poop that called me forth from the basement, upstairs to unlit rooms; vacant, lonely.

I was thinking about it last night–my difficult time from 4:00-6:00 and I realized that this was always my most productive time at work, when I was able to stay at work and didn’t have a daycare pickup or, after the divorce, when Hannah and Ethan were with their dad. Perhaps I still expect productivity at that time, from some deep cellular level.

On the bright side, I do recognize that this difficult time will begin to improve in a few months. Even by March, it will still be light by the time Chris gets home. And by April, it will be much warmer and Josh and I can go for a walk at that time or begin going to the park. And my “productivity” during the day may increase too. Once Josh can sit up, he’ll hopefully be content for longer bursts of time (maybe I’ll get 20-30 minutes to work). And he’ll eventually begin grouping his three or four little naps each day into one longer afternoon nap. And the vestiges of my former “productive” life will begin to emerge.

Surely we’ll also soon have more answers on the hearing front. (Although, I am also learning that when it comes to hearing issues, sometimes the answers just lead to more questions). So, some of this is just where I am right now. It is like being still in a forward bend, not moving–not making progress of any sort–just sitting there with my protesting hamstrings, accepting where I am at, observing where I am at and not asking myself to be anyplace else.

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4 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. Good news about changing to a different ENT. I know our ENT is especially careful about fluid with kids who have a pre-existing hearing loss. It would be good to get tubes placed to verify how much of the loss is conductive. Your first ENT’s comment was rather upsetting- in a way, it makes light of the situation and doesn’t address the possibility of a permanent loss (which absolutely needs to be ruled out). Our pediatrician was similar, stating, “Oh, we have lots of kids fail the screening. Don’t worry- its just fluid!”

    It can be so hard to be a mom to a young baby. I often felt unproductive, too, in those early days. I went from working 40 hours per week at a biotech firm to staying home full time when Nolan was born. I think I’ve overcompensated now, attending so many library story hours/playgroups/preschool sessions that my week is now full again! It would be nice to have a day off, lol.

    1. Oh, I cannot wait until Josh is old enough for story hour. I plan to spend lots of time at all of the local libraries and plan to take advantage of early childhood education classes too. That will help so much!

      I read Naomi Wolf’s Misconceptions while pregnant. She makes the case for making parks much more adult accessible to serve as a gathering spot for parent’s at home with the kids (something more than one-two hard benches).

      As always, thanks for your thoughtful support Leah!

  2. Ugh…this is always an icky time of year for me too, but it’s worse now that I’m a stay-at-home mom. I totally identify with your post. 4-6 is hard. Even though it’s not fully dark at 5, I have Gavin trained to help me turn on every light in the house! I also have this great CD full of instrumental salsa music that I play while I cook dinner…makes me feel like I’m on the beach. That eeks me by until Daddy gets home…woowee! We celebrate like Alan’s come home from the war, or something. Funny how just that one more warm body in the house makes things brighter. Anyway, just wanted to drop a note and say I’m right there with you…looking forward to longer days of sunshine!

  3. Yes–it is a thrill when Chris walks in the door and always such a nice surprise when he gets home by 5:30. It’s funny, I remember this being a hard time when my teens were in daycare too (way back when). It was so hard to come home to a dark house and have everyone be cranky, wanting to get fed, and plain old in need of letting off all of the steam they contained all day long away from their mom. Maybe it’s just a matter of having coping strategies for this time of day. I like the idea of playing salsa music! Or, you know, Dave Matthews usually works too 🙂

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