Sarah's Story includes experiences with microtia/atresia, unilateral hearing, learning more than one language and using a bone conduction hearing aid.
Our beautiful baby girl was born 6 weeks early and to all of our surprise, with microtia/ atresia of the right side and a transverse cleft lip. It was a shock as we had multiple ultrasounds due to her lower left kidney (which turned out not to be of any concern). She spent 3 weeks in NICU due to some feeding issues. It was all such a blur. I remember joy and panic, elation and also doubt; we knew nothing about hearing loss. This rollercoaster eventually slowed and I got to enjoy my baby girl; this amazingly wondrous and beautiful tiny human that would fill our lives with so much joy.
I remember speaking with my Parent Guide with the Guide By Your Side program and immediately feeling better about everything. After making that connection, I found a community in other parents who were also going through similar experiences. I joined online groups for parents with kids with hearing loss and read all I could read about everything! Would she be able to speak normally? Would she develop typically? Could I still speak to her in Spanish? We realized that she was perfect just the way she was and she would do everything in her own time. And she did! She could hear us quite well on her good hearing side and it didn't matter what language it was. She loved when we read to hear and sang songs and just talked to her; German, Spanish or English!
We were well supported through early intervention and Sarah thrived. Her speech was delayed but she was hearing English, Spanish and German, and we just went with what felt right for her. She continues to do a great job of guiding us as we guide her. Our family and friends were a huge support and we found that just being open and honest about all our appointments and information really helped them too. The more open we were, the more they learned and realized it was all going to be okay.
Sarah had surgery for her cleft lip, macrostomia and small ear at 6 months and was later fitted with a bone conductive hearing aid. She took to it like it had always been a part of her. It's been amazing to watch her grow. She's a typical almost 4 year old who loves to run and play, loves dinosaurs and princesses and her hearing aid isn't something any of us notice any more. She loves her hearing aid and makes sure to draw it when making self portraits. It makes us smile every time. She continues to amaze us every day and we can't wait to see where she takes us on this journey!