A new baby being born into your family is easily one of the sweetest things in life. When my niece was born earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be in the delivery room. It was one of the top most amazing moments I’ve experienced. I love being an auntie, and Lincoln is just a little bit fond of “Baby Cora” as he calls her. Those two are becoming quite the pair. Lincoln can get a smile out of her instantly. He begs to hold her and wants us to take pictures of them together.
Before our sweet little girl had even left the hospital, they told her parents that she had failed her hearing test. We weren’t too worried at first, because apparently lots of babies “fail” the initial hearing tests. As the weeks went on, we all waited to find out what was going on with her, and around two months after she was born, the answers came. Cora was born profoundly deaf and basically had no hearing in either ear. The days following her diagnosis were emotional for us all. The news came at a time when I was feeling particularly down about our situation with Mike. We had just found out that yet another donor had been rejected by the transplant team. I sat in Caimbrin’s car in my driveway and we cried together; not because we doubted that Cora would be okay, but because we knew that the journey would not be easy. You just don’t want to look at a tiny baby and realize that she has a challenging road ahead. I’ll be honest. I had a chat with God that week and asked Him if he thought maybe our family had been through enough already. I let Him know that we were exhausted emotionally and that one crisis per family was more than enough. It was a rough week for me, and if it was that difficult for Cora’s aunt, you can only imagine the emotional roller coaster her poor mommy experienced.
We are incredibly thankful that Cora’s deafness isn’t related to any other health issues. She is perfectly healthy and perfectly normal, she just can’t hear. If we thought that kidney transplants were magical, I think technology has outdone itself with cochlear implants. Believe it or not, Cora can have two outpatient surgeries done and then despite being born profoundly deaf, she will be able to hear. It’s an absolute miracle. Her first surgery should be in December, and the second should be next summer. Because her hearing loss is so severe, hearing aids do not help, so her only options are to get the cochlear implants or remain deaf. Of course her mommy & daddy & entire family want her to have the joy of hearing music, laughter, & “i love you’ s.”
As with any medical procedure, the surgeries are very expensive, even with health insurance. One of the things Caimbrin & I said during the early days of the diagnosis was, “Really? Are we really going to have to do this again?” And apparently the answer is yes. We are walking through yet another really expensive medical condition. Because Mike & I were so incredibly blessed by friends, family & strangers, we are hoping to repay the love for our niece. The cost after insurance will be approximately $10,000, and we want to help her parents as much as possible. I know all too well that there is nothing more stressful than having to worry about finances while worrying about surgeries and doctor visits. Over the next few months, our friends & family will be having a few fund raisers to do our best to offset these costs. If you’ve ever been through something like this, you know that hospitals ask for money up front. They don’t do procedures and then get their money, they have a “show me the money & then you get your surgery” approach. So we will do our best as a family & community to meet this need for baby Cora. I can’t imagine letting money stop her from being able to hear. When people in our lives stepped up in a big way and helped us raise money for Mike’s surgery, I made a commitment to God that I would pay that forward for the rest of my life. I haven’t passed up an opportunity yet to donate to medical fundraisers as I have come across them, some for people I know, but mostly for strangers. This time it’s even more special because it’s for my adorable niece.
With the help of our family & friends, we will walk through this and we will rejoice with Brian & Caimbrin on the day just three months from now when we get to witness Cora hear her mommy & daddy’s voices for the first time. What a day that will be!
If you want to keep up with Cora’s progress and find out about the fundraisers we’ll be doing, she has a page on Facebook that you can like.
If you want to donate online to Cora’s medical fund, here’s the link for that.
Her cute hearing aids. Even with these, she can only hear above 90 decibels and only in one ear. Although they don’t allow her to hear, she’s still required to wear them up until her surgery as part of the cochlear implant process.