As I laid on the table, numb from the waist down, staring at the blue sheet blocking the view of the surgery. My doctor was giving me a play by play count of what was happening and then like magic he appeard. Covered in baby butter and as pink as can be. A quiet cry filled the room and for the first time in months I felt utter relief.
I heard them announce his APGAR score, a 9, and asked my husband if he was perfect. He was. Ten little toes. Ten little fingers. He was long and chubby. When we got tot he recovery room, I held him and stared into his newly opened eyes. He was beautiful. Absolutely perfect.
We settled into our room and our routine. He would nurse and sleep. I would watch TV and watch him sleep. Even in his first few days he was a good baby. Never seemed bothered and hardly made a sound. Mostly he just wanted to be held but what newborn doesn’t.
On day 2, I was in need of a shower so I took him to the nursery. He was swaddled and sleeping. It was busy and loud in there but he didn’t seem to be the least bit bothered. When I came back to get him, he was still sound asleep amidst the cacophony of newborn cries. There were 20 screaming babies in that room and he was sleeping peacefully.
Later that morning, the nurse came to take him for his infant hearing screening. Even with the history of Deafness in our family, I didn’t think much of it. I mean, why should I, both of our other children can hear.
I was starting to get back into bed when I heard a knock on my door. A different woman, wearing rose colored scrubs rolled Ezra’s cart into the room. She smiled warmly but I instantly got the feeling something was not right.
She introduced herself and then mentioned that the nurse told her that my husband was Deaf. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, I knew the baby had failed his hearing test. She went on to explain that not only had he failed the OAE (otoacoustic emissions) that he had also failed ABS (auditory brain stem) test. She told me that they would retest him on Saturday morning before we left the hospital, handed me some papers and asked me if I had any questions. I didn’t and she left.
Then I sat in my bed and looked at him intently. I counted little toes and fingers again. I rubbed my hands against his soft little body. I felt his warm breath against my neck. I pressed my cheek against his chest and listened to his tiny heart beat.
I spoke softly to him to see if he would blink or turn. He didn’t. I played a ringing sound from my phone near his ear. Nothing.
Then I just let this new knowledge sink in.
He was absolutely and completely imperfectly perfect.
And most likely he was Deaf.