My first child was born perfectly healthy. As any mother-to-be, I worried constantly that he wouldn’t. By the Grace of God my father had eleven healthy grandchildren. Throughout my pregnancy I was thinking that it had to start somewhere. I would probably be the one to have a child with a disability of some sort. Not that I would love that child any less, but every mother wants a perfect baby. One more grandchild came after my son. She was perfect as well.
My second pregnancy was just as my first. I still worried that our luck would run out. Again, I had a perfectly healthy baby girl. The worry was over…or so I thought. My daughter, Abbi, at six months of age was so sweet and happy. As I was catching up on my “month-by-month” baby progress book, I noticed that at four months of age my daughter should recognize my voice and turn to look for me. My daughter wasn’t doing that yet. I excused the thought by reminding myself of the reassuring comment at the end of each chapter “Not all babies reach milestones at the same time”.
She did, however, smile at me and even laugh out loud when she was looking at me and I was talking to her in the very animated way adults talk to babies. That must mean she could hear me, I thought. I did not mention my observations to my husband. He dismisses every fear I have as being “nothing to worry about”.
Six weeks later my sister was taking her picture in the front yard at my mother’s house. She called Abbi’s name several times and couldn’t get her attention. Abbi finally looked up only after I waved my hands in front of her face. My sister made a very innocent comment that slapped me in the face like a pitcher of ice water. She said, “I can’t believe Abbi doesn’t recognize her name yet.” I just said, “No, not yet…” but I wanted to scream, “NO, MY BABY CAN’T HEAR!” I thank God that she made that comment because I don’t know how long I would have pretended that everything was fine.
I gathered my things as fast as I could and went to the safety of my own home so I could let the tears flow freely without having to explain why they were there. My husband came home from work several hours later. I told him that I knew he was going to think I was crazy but I really thought something was wrong with Abbi’s hearing. He made the comment that I was expecting, “You don’t know what you are talking about. She hears just fine!”
I sat my daughter in my lap with her back to me and I yelled her name as loud as I could. She never looked around. He said she just wasn’t paying attention. He acted as if he was not bothered by what he had just witnessed. Minutes later he got up and walked out the front door and immediately came back in and slammed it. Nothing. He sat back down for a few minutes more and then got up and went to the kitchen. He came out with a pot and a spoon. He banged on it as hard as he could. I was watching him and I jumped. One foot behind Abbi’s head and she never flinched. He knew then that I did know what I was talking about.
We called the doctor’s office the next morning and told them of our suspicions. They scheduled her an appointment for the following week. The stress and tension was building day by day. I cried constantly, especially at night. It was so very quiet and all I could think was, “This is all my baby hears…nothing.” My husband, on the other hand, looked at it as “why cry over something that you can’t do anything about”. Three days later he called the doctor’s office and begged them to please work her in that day. We needed an answer.
Our fears were confirmed…profound nerve deafness. My husband, again, showed no emotion and I cried like a baby. For three weeks I cried day and night pleading with God to let my baby hear. “Heal her, Please!” Was all I could pray. Area churches of all denominations were adding her to their prayer lists. One in particular devoted an entire service just to pray for her healing. She was annointed with oil and had laying on of hands. Still nothing.
After three weeks, I lay in bed crying. I finally prayed the prayer that I was too selfish to pray from the beginning. “Dear God, Please heal my Abbi…if it is Your will. If it is not, then please give us the strength to deal with and accept our daughters deafness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” Immediate peace…I stopped crying. My prayer was answered.
So many people, including myself until that night, think that God doesn’t answer every prayer. He does. God, like our own parents, knows what is best. Just as when we were children, our parents said “No” to a lot of our request and we didn’t understand why but they did. Just because God doesn’t give us what we want doesn’t mean He doesn’t answer. His answer is sometimes “No”.
My Abbi is still deaf and may be for the rest of her life. He may decide to heal her next week, next month, next year or who knows when. But right now His answer was, “No, my child, I will not heal her but I will give you the strength to deal with and accept your daughter’s deafness.” And He did. Prayer answered.
Billie Timmons [email protected]
I am the stay-at-home mom of E.J., 3 years old, and Abbi, now 18 months old. I love to write but it has to be true and from the heart. I have written several poems about my daughter with intentions of having them published in a children’s storybook.
UPDATE: A little update on Abbi, now 2.5 years old…She has been hearing with her cochlear implant since January 4, 2001. Her progress is incredible! She has not only amazed her family and friends but also her therapist and other professionals that work with her. We were told before her implant surgery not to expect anything for 6 to 8 months or more. Although she was over 2 years old she was starting her hearing and understanding of what she was hearing at the newborn level. She would, like a newborn, have to soak sounds in for quite a while before she started trying to make them herself.
Abbi had so many people praying for her for many months and they still are praying for her. I contribute her success thus far to that. Five weeks after she began hearing she was saying momma, uh-oh and bye-bye! How many 5 week old babies have you heard saying words like that?! Before her implant she was at a hearing level of around 90 decibles. That compares to a chainsaw…she may or may not could hear one running. Now she comes running from three rooms away when I call her name…what a miracle!
WARNING: At the bottom of this page is a picture of the incision from her surgery. The reason for this page is because I saw pictures of a friends son who had the same surgery and that prepared me so much for what I was going to see with my daughter. This is for the parents of deaf children or deaf adults that are considering this surgery to prepare them for what they will see.