Like Father, Like Son?

Probably since the very first moment that my wife (let’s call her ‘E’) and I talked about having a baby I began to panic that our child would be born with a hearing loss. Over the years I’ve been told by people in the medical profession that’s it’s not hereditary, but I find that hard to believe. I’m one of five siblings and three of us wear hearing aids. My mother wears hearing aids (or did – she recently had a cochlear implant fitted) as do all of her sisters. Their mother (my grandmother) also had a hearing loss. Three out of five of my nieces and nephews are deaf. I’m glad to say that my oldest niece didn’t follow in my footsteps with the stubbornness to wearing hearing aids and I’m sure she’ll reap the benefits throughout her education. I just wish I had the foresight to see this when I was younger.

Anyway, you can obviously see where my panic was coming from, as well as the standard fear that all expecting parents experience when going for their scans and tests throughout the pregnancy. I’m glad to say that the pregnancy itself was all plain-sailing (well, from my point of view! I’m not sure E would say the same!). I would just have to wait for our baby to arrive (on here I’ll call him ‘F’). As this was our first, we thought it’d be exciting to not find out the sex until the birth.

At 7am on Saturday 10th March 2012, F was finally here. From the first contractions to F finally making an appearance was nearly 24 hours. My mother-in-law was my wingwoman and I couldn’t have done it without her… this kind of sounds like I was the one in labour! I found the whole experience amazing but also traumatic. It was so hard to see E going through what she had to and she did it with just gas and air. Now that F was with us it was time for all of the necessary checks, hearing test included. He had two arms, eight fingers, two thumbs, etc. So far, so good! Now for the hearing test. I can’t even remember what the test was as I was so exhausted from being awake 24+ hours. All I remember is the result and it wasn’t good news. The nurse did explain that the result could’ve been affected by fluid in the ear, but given my family history (contradicting what I’d previously been told!) it was unlikely. She seemed pretty convinced that he was deaf as she was talking about how great hearing aids are now and that the technology has advanced a lot.

I was really devasted, like I’ve never been before in my life. As beautiful as he was, all I could think of was his future with a hearing loss and I only had my personal experience to go by. My entire school life suffered because of my hearing. Since leaving school I’d say that my hearing has also led me into the job I’m in now, a job that I don’t want to be in. At the hospital I lay with F for about 10-15 minutes, in our own little world, all of these thoughts running through my mind. With the help of E and family I snapped out of it and tried to put it to the back of my mind. We had a newborn to look after!

All of the days and weeks rolled into one big blur. Not that I’m complaining, I was loving being a daddy. We had a follow-up appointment at the hospital to give F a more thorough hearing test. I’m not a religious person so I’m not going to say that I was praying every day for good news, but I was hoping. Hoping a lot. The day of the appointment arrived and I tried to be in good spirits, although maybe I’d already accepted that F was going to be deaf like daddy. He was the perfect patient, not making too much fuss and allowing the doctors to do what they needed to do. The result… ?

I really wasn’t expecting it, but he got the all clear! I’m not sure I said much at the time because of the shock, but I’d like to think I had a huge smile for a long time after! The days following his check-up we began to notice how well F was reacting to noise around him. He’d react to the slightest noise, like a bag slightly rustling. I can’t really say what else he was reacting to as his hearing was much better than mine, but E was letting me know.

Life couldn’t be any better. I was married to a beautiful, yummy mummy and had a handsome son – with good hearing! I’d like to say that if it turned out that F did have a hearing loss, I would’ve loved him no less.

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25 thoughts on “Like Father, Like Son?

  1. Keep at it. I’m sure lots of parent will love to share your blogs. Will also help you to get it off your chest, so let it all out.

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  2. This made me cry! It’s so moving – I wish you knew that you have members of your family you can talk to about this instead of keeping it all locked up x

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  3. Awww Of course you would have loved him the same, but how lovely that he doesn’t have a problem with deafness, I’m looking forward to reading more from you and your lovely family.
    #TuesdayTreasures

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  4. It’s understandable that you were so worried when he was born, he’s totally adorable by the way but this you will already know. It’s lovely to read this sort of blog post from a Daddy’s perspective. Wonderful post and thank you for linking up with #TuesdayTreasures

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  5. Oh my gosh this must have been such a difficult time for you. I too suffer with some hearing issues but not to your extent and I often worry about my own children as it can be quite disabilitating. I also have issues with benign calcium based tumours which have had be fretting for the kids. We worry don’t we us parents?
    Thanks so much for joining in with #TuesdayTreasures.

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  6. I completely understand your apprehensions in having a child and knowing that if they inherited something from you then you’d be concerned. i think its very normal to feel like that and I am so glad the little cutie is all fine and dandy.
    At 20 weeks they thought Ben might have had Downs Syndrome, and as much as I am relieved he doesnt – it doesnt mean that should he have had it, that we wouldnt have loved him any less. I guess its all about being prepared for the life ahead and knowing the support networks in place for that eventuality.
    I love that photo – more so the hairstyle! totally adorable #PostsFromTheHeart

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    • Thank you. Yes, much of it is about being prepared. For our second child I found that I was much more relaxed about the situation. Glad your boy is ok. Our eldest seems to have discovered selective hearing like most 4-5 year olds : )

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  7. What a beautiful little boy. My best friend at school also had hearing loss, as did his parents and I know that even back then he wondered whether his children would also be affected. I think this is an incredibly valuable post that lots of parents will be able to relate to in different ways. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at #PistsFromTheHeart

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  8. I’m so happy to read that your son doesn’t have a hearing loss – happy for him, happy for you. But even if he had a hearing loss, things would have been okay because he would have had you guiding him. You seem like a very loving & caring father. Thanks for sharing your heart. #postsfromtheheart

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    • Thank you. You are right about Freddie being ok if he had been born with a hearing loss. The experience of our first child made it easier for our second, I felt like I was more ready to accept the situation : )

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  9. This is such a moving and emotional account. A friend of mine has just found out that one of her teens who is now 18 is completely deaf in one ear and probably has been since birth and is devastated that is has been missed for so long and is now torturing herself piecing all those missed opportunities together. I am so glad your son is fine – loving the punk hair and that all is well. So nice to hear a dad’s view on it all. #PostsFromTheHeart

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    • Thank you for your comment. I would tell your friend to not feel bad as I remember when I was a teenager that I would do everything I could to hide the fact I had a hearing loss, so this may have been the case with her teen?

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