The cake says "It's three years Cormac can hear"
I remember three years ago like it was yesterday. We handed Cormac over to the hands of a surgeon.
They let me walk Cormac into the OR. Frank said I couldn't do it if I was going to cry. Cormac never saw me shed a tear. I waited until he was deep asleep to let the river of tears start flowing. Frank and I held hands and sat anxiously waiting for the surgery to be over. It took nearly six hours. Yes, six hours. Since he received simultaneous bilateral implants it took longer than we expected. Not what you wanted but in the long run, Dr Lalwani, was a perfectionist and perfection is what we wanted.
I was not prepared for what I saw in the recovery room. No one warned me of the amount of swelling Cormac would experience.
Keep in mind he is totally deaf and now his face swelled so much his eyes could not open. My heart broke for him and I was literally physically ill to see him like this. The nurses didn't want me to touch him but touch was ALL I had. I ripped him out of the bed while he was sobbing crying. Within a minute he was fast asleep in my arms. What do those nurses know? I know my son, not them. I sat perfectly still with him for 2 hours until we were transferred out of recovery.
After 12 hours his eyes finally went down and he rolled over in the bed and gave me his usual smile. I knew at that moment everything would be alright. I called Frank immediately to tell him not realizing it was 3am! He thought the worst had happened and I was just calling to tell him good news. We were sent home the next morning and the long wait began. We had to wait four weeks for activation. It seemed like a year! We just couldn't wait for Cormac to start having access to sound.
THis is Cormac 24 hours after surgery.
On July 23rd Frank and I took Cormac and headed back to NYU for the big activation day. We were so nervous and excited. We had heard stories most kids cry and didn't have high expectations. We understood when they first turned on the implant he wouldn't understand what we were saying. He would have to be taught to understand the sounds around him. An implant is not majic. You don't just suddenly hear and understand. Cormac's activation could not have gone any better! He loved it and was so excited. Every time they made a sound they taught him to look at a dancing pig. Once he realized he was hearing sound he kept signing "more" and then "more pig". He smiled through the entire process. It was so amzing.
Here is a video of his activation. It's quite long but if you foward to around 4 minutes and watch from then on you will really see how thrilled he was to hear. At about 7 minutes 50 seconds he actually pulls on his ear and smiles and signs "more".
From that day on we have been working hard. It has become a way of life. We talk. and talk and then talk some more. I remember someone telling me around the three year mark you start to almost "forget" about it. Whoever said it was right. We are at a place where it's just Cormac. He has done so much in three short years. He has managed to catch up to his peers and surpass most of them. He fulfilled my dream of attending mainstream preschool with his brothers. The thought of sending him to school alone and separating him from his brothers broke my heart. I was willing to do if necessary but luckily it was not. I could not be prouder of him.
I really didn't know what to expect from him. I never knew someone who was deaf before I gave birth to Cormac. I didn't know anything about Connexin 26. I didn't even know what a cochlear implant was until he was diagnosed.
We have been blessed with lots of amazing people in our lives. Joan, Cormac's teacher of the deaf from early intervention was the best. We saw her 2 hours a week in our home and I brought him to a group class as Summit Speech School once a week. Joan was also the teacher of the group class. She gave our son his voice. She gave our family the skills to use along this journey. Everyone at Summit Speech School has been amazing to our family. We love being part of their school and continue to receive Cormac's itinerant services from Summit. Currently, his teacher of the deaf, Nicole, is amazing as well. Cormac just loves her.
We had our three year speech evaluation. The official report isn't complete yet but Cormac can produce every sound necessary for speech! Every sound. Including "th", "Y", "sh". These are harder sounds. His auditory memory is amazing. I swear this kid knows everything.
All in all our journey has been amazing. Cormac's future is bright. He has nothing holding him back. He can accomplish anything he sets his mind to. I am not saying it wasn't hard work. I am not saying it was easy. But nothing in life truly worth it comes easy. (well, at least in our family) I am not sure why we were chosen to have the family we have received. Most people (to me anyway) seem to have kids and never miss a beat. Never know the struggles of other parents who aren't so lucky. I have been called lucky alot. I dont know if lucky is the right word. If I was lucky I assume I wouldn't have struggled through a triplet pregnancy. If I was lucky I guess all three boys would have been born hearing. If I was lucky Calleigh wouldn't have been born with health issues requiring three surgeries before her first birthday. I consider myself blessed. They are two different things. I look at my family every day and feel blessed. Blessed to even have children. Blessed they are all so wonderful. Blessed they are who they are. They make me a better person and sometimes a lunatic but it's worth every minute.