Wednesday, September 21, 2011

being a deaf mom

On october 22nd,2008.. My life was changed forever- I recieved the first and 3 postive tests- I was pregnant with our first child- Vincent Michael...... now began my journey into motherhood and began my journey into being a deaf mother and juggling 2 cultures... and life itself... crazy.

I absoutely loved being pregnant with both of my kids.. My pregnancies were both very different but it was a joy carrying them.  I still think about the days I spent carrying them and feeling them.. what a remarkable experience I will never have back.

I worried about everything like a first time mom would do, I read books, I set up vincents room with clothes and bumpers and prepared for his arrival... and once he was here.. In the hositpal- how would we deal with him crying and I wouldn't be able to hear him?  Luckily bellin where we had our kids offered rooming in AND sending the baby to the nursery- and I worked a solution out where We could keep our little baby with us until about 10 at night- and I would feed him/her and send them off to the nursery and they would take care of vincent so I could sleep- and came back every 2-3 hours depending on when the baby was hungry.  It was a perfect solution......... then coming home.  It was crazy.... waking at all hours with the baby montior or Andy would wake me up- we decided not to go with the lights flashing because andy needed his sleep for work- so I had to make do until the kids slept through the night.  
Being a deaf mom- I know I get a lot of attention when we go shopping and I have to yell at vincent in the store (he's two after all) People stare- (oh that poor deaf woman is yelling at her kid in a STRANGE accent)  or people just smile at me shyly and wonder how on earth could I have one kid, or even TWO perfectly healthy normal children while being deaf (and to those that think that I heartily bop you on the head :) :) ) 
Here is a funny example that happened last week... I went shopping at target and Victoria was being happy as can be and either wanting to be held or looking around in her carseat.  Vincent was running around the infant/toddler dept throwing his pooh bear around to himself and laughing and chattering- ok maybe to the average person- my child was having too much fun- but to ME it meant I could have about 30 mins of shopping to myself without him annoying me about something.  so i am picking out the kids fall outfits for this fall and winter.... they are getting so big! so  I am shopping and shopping because i have 2 kids to buy for and I wanted to get done before lunch so i could get the wee little one to nap, and vincent home to rest.  All of the sudden vincent was running around and being goofy.. and I realized our dear little pooh bear boppy blanky security thing went missing.  FOOK! FOOK! we have to find it now... so andy's mom (we'll call her Nanna B) Nanna B started helping me look for it while I was freaking out on the inside, and we asked vincent a MILLION times in many different ways where it could be.  Vincent in his simple 2 year old style was like.. I don't know I don't know I don't know.  so we LOOKED EVERYWHERE... under the clothing racks.. in between the clothes.. on top of the shelves.. even in the carseat aisle........ NO bear found.  so I am going in circles and now freaking out because I know vincent does not care NOW but he will later when it is time to go to sleep and he wants it.  Ah.......  Ok, so I asked Nanna B to ask the nice target worker if she had seen anything- she had said no but if something was dropped or whatever- sometimes someone picks it up and brings it to customer service or front desk.. Ok fine.. so  I sent V and Nanna B off to front desk to see if they had it.. and they didn't........ so I am now majorly kind of freaking out and going oh my god what am i going to do tonight when he goes to bed?! and he asks for it?! so I told Nanna B we have to look for it some more.. we are not leaving here without finding that fooking thing!!!!!! Nice target worker comes back up to us and says they found it under some clothing racks in the Infants dept and someone brought it up front.......... GREAT. so I sent nanna B and Vincent to go retrive it.  I'm buying more stuff... and then they came back and vincent was carrying his pooh bear and I am like SO thankful to see that damn thing but at the same time a little mad.  SO i start signing to vincent that he needs to be nice to pooh bear and that he can't be hiding pooh bear in places we can't find because it is not nice to give mommy a heart attack.  meanwhile Nanna B is like I can tell you were majorly freaked out and she was giggling the entire time.. Ah Grandmas! how soon they forget. 
That whole experience made me realize i am going to have to brush up on asking people for things and help.. espically with two little ones and their security blankys.  We have a cute Monkey Boppy head thing for Victoria... I think after this.. I am going to buy her 2 or 3 of the same boppy head blanky so we don't have to freak out if we lose one. lord help me.

I asboutely love it when people ask me questions on how it is like to be a deaf mom......... I seriously dead pan- and go............ of course- it is just being like YOU except i cant hear....... granted my kids have to take on a little more than most kids and help their poor amazing supermom (if i say so) I only hope it makes them a better, stronger couple of kids.

questions people have asked me:
How do you hear the baby cry?
Baby monitor or for some people- they use flashing lights I use a combo of using Andy- and the baby montior
when you're pregnant and u go to the doctor and you want to know if the babys heart is beating?
Luckily my OB at the time was very nice- and I had a great interpreter- the interpreter would sign if the babys heart is beating and if it is fast or slow and sign the heart rate number when the doctor announces it- also I was allowed to feel the doppler thumping.
wow, deaf people can have a child??
yes, really, I have two.. deaf people can have sex just like you can and probably louder too. 
is the birth experience normal?
Normal... yes.. lots of pain.. the only difference is at the end you have one extra person in the room with you other than your husband or BF or some family members that is translating everything that is being said and done.
does it make it easier for your children to be bilingual?
yes.. vincent has learned early on that he is BI-lingual- he is my little coda in training so to speak.  I have seen him go back and forth between english and ASL pretty flawlessly.  He will go to his grandparents and speak english with them and chatter.. while at home with me and Andy he will use ASL (which is enforced here) and english if andy is speaking with him.  WE also enforce reading books here- we read books often throughout the day and right before bed...... enforcing ASL and english.  

I couldn't imagine not being deaf and being a mom.  Being a deaf mom brings a extension to my life that wouldn't otherwise exisient.. and I really love seeing Vincent sign.. and I am already signing with victoria. Granted, being deaf brings challenges and a lot of stupid questions from those unknowing deaf-impaired people but its part of a greater culture and a different way of life that I love living.  I only hope that my children someday grow up to appericate the wonderful gift i have given them-- to know deaf culture and thrive in 2 worlds........ and somehow and someway it clashes perfectly.  after all,, that is how i live my life... a perfect clash..... :)

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