You don’t know how strong you are until you have no choice.

Sounds like a cliché right?

Yet it is true, as I have learned from first-hand experience.

I learned what true strength was around 3 ½ years ago. It took me some time but I learned to be fiercely strong and fearless. I learned this because I had no other choice.

I have dreaded today – this moment in time that would define our futures – for the past 9 ½ months.

I’ve dreaded it since I first found out I was pregnant.

You see, I decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t have the screening test. Instead we would refer ourselves to audiology for a full assessment. It would be the only way we could truly know if we had another deaf baby or a hearing one. 

The past week has been perfect – ‘a most perfect week’

We were blissfully happy as a family of 4, however, the referral hung over us like a dark cloud.

I didn’t want my most perfect week to end, and as the days ticked by, I became less and less certain of a positive outcome.

By yesterday I was an emotional wreck. I cried, I began to grieve and I was angry. I knew deep down he wasn’t responding.

History was repeating itself. I didn’t want to be robbed again.  I didn’t want to lose my perfect baby boy.

But I knew. I already knew.

The audiologist knew it too, right after the first test. Of course he said it could be congestion, but we both knew.

The room wasn’t quite as bad as I’d remembered.  The tests were a lot quicker this time around – and for that I was thankful.

The OH was the optimistic one but by the second test he knew it too. I saw it in his eyes again… brokenness and despair – only it wasn’t quite as soulless this time around.

I thought I’d fall apart but as the tests began I felt a sudden sense of Déjà vu… and it was calming.

A little voice in my head said; “You already knew”. And I did.

In some ways it was a relief. A relief that B wouldn’t be ‘the only one’. A relief that we were dealing with all we had ever known.

The experience was completely different to our initial visit to audiology, in which our journey had first begun.

It doesn’t make it any easier. The anxiety has resurfaced.  My baby and I have changed and neither of us can go back.

But this time, I know. I know it will be ok.

I haven’t grieved the way I did before.

We went into this with our eyes open and we knew the odds.

The ODDS….

1 in 4

25%

25% chance of deafness. 75% chance of hearing.

The odds were in our favour, right?

Wrong.

It happened once and it has happened again.

I haven’t questioned Why? this time. There seems no point.

WE KNEW THE ODDS.

We knew we could cope again. And we will. We just really didn’t want to go through it all again.

The hardest thing is the reactions of others. The sympathy, the pity, the awkwardness……

We are ok as a family unit. We have great support. Our baby is perfect to us. Yet the reactions of others cut through us like knives and I wish we could go back.

Back to that ‘most perfect first week’.