It was one of the most difficult moments in our lives.
Even though he was asleep, seeing my beautiful baby boy strapped to the bed for an MRI test, only to find out that our life would be filled with challenges.
Zachary was born five weeks premature. I remember that he was such a tiny little baby and everyone marveled over how beautiful he was. Our only concern was that he was healthy.
We noticed that Zachary had some very small skin tags near his ears. We certainly didn’t think this involved anything more that maybe having them removed. But then, the doctors began to ask if there was a family history of deafness.
This took us by complete surprise. As Zachary was being tested, it became clear that he did not respond to any sounds at all. It was confirmed that our new baby had no auditory nerve in his right ear, and was profoundly deaf in the left. Hearing this news, my chest became heavy.
It was all so scary for us. There were so many unknowns. The biggest question was what the future would hold for our precious little boy.
The hospital suggested that we consider a cochlear implant. They explained that this consists of a small electronic device that is surgically implanted into the inner ear that gives the brain access to sound. Zachary was sent to be fitted for a hearing aid for his left ear. We were then introduced to the MAB-Mackay.
Raising a baby who doesn’t respond as one would expect at 6 months to the care you’re giving is continually heartbreaking. The remarkable team at the MAB-Mackay helped us through this, and made us feel like we weren’t alone. They certainly lived up to their promise that they would help Zachary to realize his full potential. In the months leading up to his surgery for the cochlear implant, they worked with Zachary to develop his listening skills, laying the foundation for his future learning.
Zachary’s hard work is showing tangible signs of progress. He is beginning to make associations and is taking full advantage of his new ability to hear. You should have seen the look on his face when he actually heard a cat meow for the first time – something he didn’t expect and had never heard before!
In September, we traveled to Quebec City where they turned the implant on and Zachary was able to hear voices for the first time. It has changed his and our lives! We returned to the MAB-Mackay and began an intensive therapy program through which his brain is trained to understand sound. It’s nothing short of amazing to see his progress – as he learns to associate basic sounds with objects.
As we continue to work with Zachary, helping him to recognize common speech sounds with different pitches, his speech therapists are optimistic about his potential to communicate orally.
I know my child can grow up to be successful and be anything he wants to be. His personality is beginning to take shape – he’s a happy little guy who wants to be just like his big brother Nate. Now that he’s able to hear, I see that he wants the sounds that he’s discovering. It’s truly incredible to witness!
We owe so much to the MAB-Mackay. They provided the support we needed to move forward, for Zachary and for us as parents too. They genuinely understood, and truly cared about our well-being. We know that we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re reassured that with the MAB-Mackay by our side, the sky’s the limit for Zachary.
Zachary’s proud mom
P.S. Before I was married and had children, I was a trained opera singer. Imagine how I felt when I learned that my newborn baby wouldn’t be able to hear me singing him lullabies. Thanks to the MAB-Mackay and compassionate donors like you, Zachary is learning to hear and speak. Please take a moment to mail your gift in the enclosed envelope today, and help give so many children like our son the future that they deserve.