Our New Grandbaby is Deaf, Now What?

by Jayne Frank

We were so excited to welcome a precious gift from God into our family. It was May of 2006, and we knew the big day was fast approaching. My husband and I did not know a thing about being grandparents except the word on the street was that it is the best thing that will ever happen to you. So we bought a box of diapers and some wipes, a onesie and of course a special lovie to keep at our house. We were anxious to pour our love on our new baby.

Morgan Elizabeth was born on May 31st. The doctor said, “Oh. what a beautiful healthy baby girl you have, just perfect!”

Well, or course perfect in God’s eyes. but to our surprise Morgan didn’t pass the newborn hearing screening. “Oh, don’t worry, it is fluid,” the nurses said. “Come back in a week and we are sure she will pass.” One week later she still didn’t pass.

A month later, Poppop, Julie (our daughter) and Morgan went for a more precise test at the children’s hospital, only to be told Morgan has severe to profound hearing loss. To us, that only meant a hearing loss because they will not say the word DEAF to you for some crazy reason. The audiologist said to go home and sleep on this news and come back another day. And, by the way, call Early Intervention.

Our hearts felt like they were being ripped out. We were mourning the loss of this little girl’s hearing. We had common misperceptions about people who are deaf, that they wear noisy hearing aids, are hard to understand, and are made fun of by others. Poppop and I couldn’t even comprehend everything that was happening.

We went through all the emotions, from denial to anger to acceptance. We were scared Morgan would never hear us tell her how much we loved her. We were scared she would never talk or have friends. We were scared because of all the bullying in the news. Even today, we are still grieving the loss of Morgan’s hearing at this point. I think that might last a lifetime. I remember our son, Jamie said to me one day, “Mom, even the dog can hear.” Ok, so what’s a few more tears?

I was in charge of all the research. Due to HIPAA, hospitals cannot put you in contact with others like yourself. I had my work cut out for me with little guidance. We found out that everyone knows something about deafness, which led to us trying some crazy stuff. We were teaching ourselves sign language at an alarming rate of speed. We ran into a reflexologist who was 100 percent sure she could fix Morgan’s hearing problem.

Our daughter and son-in-law had work schedules that did not allow them any type of flexible hours. So, this leaves Poppop with his newfound job. Everyday, Poppop would pick Morgan up at daycare and take her to this reflexology place. He made more bottles and changed more diapers than he did with his own children. No hunting season for Poppop! His unselfish love for this perfect baby was his new job after his regular job was done. I cannot even describe in words how proud I am of him for his undying support for his little Morgan. Poppop and Morgan were bonding like a grandparent and grandchild never do.

Long story short, NOTHING worked. Poppop instead learned all about hearing aids and batteries. He was taking Morgan to get hearing aid molds done that she would already outgrow before they arrived back from the supplier. She also saw many specialists to rule out syndromes associated with deafness. Thank goodness for Poppop, because all these specialists have daytime hours. Poppop was learning way more than any Poppop should.

The hearing aids didn’t seem to be working, but Morgan became such a good lip reader that we almost believed she could hear. We were then told that Morgan could be a candidate for a cochlear implant. Our hearts were broken again, because we didn’t know one thing about a cochlear implant, other than it involved surgery to implant something in your child’s head. We worried that people would really be staring at Morgan now. But this was our only hope for Morgan to hear all the beautiful sounds we could hear. We wanted her to hear birds and laughter, but mostly we wanted her to hear, “We Love You Morgie Porgie!”

Today, Morgan is a beautiful five-year-old girl with bilateral implants. She went to the Clarke School in Pennsylvania, where her hearing journey began with the most wonderful people we now call family. Morgan is in a mainstream kindergarten class and amazes us daily. Her school and teachers all went above and beyond the call of duty to learn about the little curly-haired girl who is deaf. Morgan also was the spokesperson for United Way and won the hearts of many while teaching people about cochlear implants.

This journey is something that we wouldn’t trade for anything! God is teaching us valuable lessons through this PERFECT BABY GIRL!

Author: Jayne Frank • Date: 10/17/2011
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