Guest Blogger: Ryan Isbrecht, Kidventure Camps Coordinator-Dallas Area.
A story about one father’s journey to raise a little girl in a world filled with technology. A simple goal to find balance, security and keep alive the ways of my childhood. Through various experiences, I strive to build a family connection that can not be broken. In addition, we have a son that will have his battles as he grows up in an ever-connected world to find acceptance, success, and happiness.
For those of you that do not know my wife and I welcomed a son back in March of this year. As much as we are walking zombies more days than not, we are both over the Moon in love with him! He is perfect! The process of childbirth is such a miracle and so amazing. It is so complex and there are so many things that have to go right and there will be times when things don’t go right at all. I try and tell my wife every day that she is my superhero because she is the only one strong enough to make it happen. So when something does happen that you were not expecting, it hits you hard. Now I do understand that this is a reality for millions of families every day and there are many complications that parents deal with that are not apart of our own realities. In March of 2018, we were introduced to one such complication.
Our son was born with Microtia on his right ear. Microtia is a congenital deformity where the external ear is underdeveloped. We had never heard of this condition prior to his birth. He failed his newborn hearing screening in the hospital for both ears, and we left the hospital the next day not knowing if he could hear at all. It was emotional, to say the least, and we felt devastated for our son knowing the battle he was going to face as he grew up. We wanted him to have everything he needed to grow up happy, healthy and successful. We wanted him to be loved and accepted by everyone, not made fun of or outcast because he was different. We knew that he would be stronger and more compassionate because of this condition and that is what we must be for him. We can not change what has happened and instead of being sad, bitter or upset we are going to be better for it.
Now after several doctor’s visits, meetings with surgeons and audiologist, joining Microtia groups on Facebook and the support of a very loving family we have learned so much about a condition that occurs in 1 out of every 8,000-10,000 births. We learned that he has perfect hearing in his left ear and only mild-severe conductive hearing loss in his right (Microtia) ear. This means he can hear out of his right ear at 65 decibels or higher which is equivalent to someone laughing. In the grand scope of things, this is extremely good news, being there are so many others that are dealing with so much more. He has been fitted and is wearing a Baha device on the right side of his head. The Baha device takes sounds from the environment around him and turns it into vibrations across his skull and into his inner ear creating sound. (It sounds like a speaker in your head) We also have regularly scheduled meetings with an organization called Early Childhood Intervention that provide resources and feedback on his development and what we can do to support him as much as possible. You may not realize that hearing has a major impact on a person’s physical growth at such a young age. These are just the first few steps in helping Logan have everything he needs for the future. It isn’t easy sometimes but is so vastly important because, down the road, there is going to be so much more including potential surgeries.
Learning about this condition and meeting so many new people including one boy at our daughter’s gymnastics class it has helped me to understand better, that what can truly bring us together is information and education. When we are in the unknown about something or someone we feel alone because we do not understand. When we do not understand something our first reaction is to distance ourselves, ignore it, or become mean and hateful towards others, but what we are doing is being bitter about something we have no control over. With education and information, we can choose to be better and help others by understanding others we may see as different, but in all reality, we are not that different. So we will be Warriors for Logan and will take this opportunity to better ourselves and those around us.
On Friday, November 9th, National Microtia Day, a day that gives us a chance to learn about something new, to understand what someone else might be going through and bring us all closer together. A day I never knew existed has introduced me to so many wonderful people and has made me better. I hope it does the same for you.
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