Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NYC Walk4Hearing

On Sunday, September 30th we participated in the NYC Walk4Hearing.  Madison had several family members in town for the event… some even traveling across the country to see her.  The weather held out, and we had a nice day on Manhattan’s Upper West Side Riverside Park.  Here is a picture of her entourage during the walk:

A few other pics during the walk:

Madison & Cousin Julian

Madison & Olive

Madison & Cochlear Koala

After the walk, Brian and I hosted a fundraiser for friends, family and colleagues at a bar in Midtown to benefit the Center For Hearing and Communication (CHC).  Madison receives therapy at CHC multiple times a week, and has been going there since she was 6 weeks old.  We believe the therapists there do a fantastic job and are so grateful for everything they’ve done for Madison (and us).  They are able to offer their services to children & adults and funding is provided mainly through donations.

The fundraiser was a 2-hour event that consisted of an open bar and appetizers for $50.  Half the cost of the event went to the bar and the proceeds went to CHC.  In addition, we received numerous donations that we raffled off – signed sports posters, gift cards, books, wine, hotel stay - to name a few.  The raffle helped us raise even more money.   And we must not forget, Brian’s cousin designed T-shirts for the festivities, which were made & donated, by Campus Connection.  All proceeds went to CHC.  

All said and done, Madison raised over $10,000 that afternoon.  We are so appreciative for the gifts we received and are truly blessed by everyone’s generosity and support during this day.  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Busier Than Ever

We were planning on posting a "six-month hearing” update documenting the progress of Madison last August, but the summer kept us busier than ever.  Here are some photos from our travels.

 Maryland - Baltimore National Aquarium 

 Delaware - Madison & Tessa BFF <3

 Illinois - Shedd Aquarium

 Grant Park

 Our former home in Chicago

Lincoln Park, Chicago

It’s truly amazing how quickly time goes by.  Last week, we had our annual meeting with New York Early Intervention.  It was definitely weird being back there, not to mention the meeting was held in the same conference room as last September – Brian and I sat in the very same seats – and surprisingly enough we were assigned the same agent!  However, while we were seated, about to get started I just started to reminisce about the past year.  My throat began to get heavy and my eyes began to tear up.  As I thought back to that day, goose bumps ran down my spine.  I didn’t expect to have these feelings….  Twelve months ago, we were sitting in this same room in a completely different state of mind.  I don’t think Brian or I had any idea of what would transpire over the next year.  Madison had her surgery in January, and was activated in February.  Now, seven months post-activation we were discussing the goals that we had set for her back in September of 2011.  Has Madison reached these goals?  How does she compare to her hearing peers? What are our new goals?  Reflecting back, it is pretty darn impressive how far she has come and how much she has progressed.  Madison is such a determined little girl and she continues to amaze Brian and I every day.  But before we go into detail about her progress, the best part of the meeting was that Madison was approved for an increase in home-based service to twice a week with Michelle (speech therapist through Center for Hearing and Communications).  We are so happy about this!

So, six seven months into hearing, Madison has a vocabulary of approximately 14 words:

  •        Mama
  •        Dada
  •        Al (Alan…all dogs are called “Al” )
  •       Up (by far and away her favorite word)
  •        Bubb (Bubbles)
  •        Buh Buh (Bye Bye)
  •     Babe (baby)
  •         Muh (more)
  •         Miiik (milk)
  •         Umm-Pa  (Grandpa)
  •         App-uh (apple)
  •         Ba-ba (the name she gave her Paci)
  •         Eeeey (Yes)
  •     Yeahoo (Yellow)

She’s definitely doing a great job of listening and following directions.  For example, “Madison can you pick up the block and give it to Daddy.”  That statement has multiple commands and she is easily able to comprehend that.    

We’ve also been working on body parts with her.  She does very well with some, but many of them involve movements (i.e. wash your ‘hands’, kick your ‘feet’, brush your ‘teeth’).  She knows her head, ears, eyes, nose (although sometimes this is confused with the word “NO”), teeth, mouth, tongue, bellybutton, hands, fingers, knees, feet, toes.   She also needs to learn where her ‘shoulder’ is, as she’s always touching her knee, but hopefully if we sing the song enough to her, she’ll get the hang of it.

Madison is also doing very well discriminating her sounds – “Moo” for cow and “Quack Quack” for duck.  She even will pick up the cow and go “Moo” or pick up a horse and make the tongue-clicking sound.  We brought Madison to the American Museum of Natural History a few weeks ago and she was so excited to see the elephants.  She kept making the noise while she pointed them to us.  So cute!  There is a fire station around the block from our apartment, so every now and then a fire truck passes by the street.  Madison will point to her ears and let us know she hears the sound.  She has just started imitating the sound, making a “oooh oohhhhh ooooohhh oohhh” noise, when she plays with her toy fire truck. 

As well as Madison is doing in therapy, one of the suggestions we received from her therapists was to expose her to children outside of the hearing-loss community.  In the past, this was difficult to do.  I had always wanted to enroll Madison in a play-class, but her schedule never really allowed it.  The first year of her life, we were busy running around taking Madison to doctor appointments, audiology visits, therapy sessions, sound booth visits, etc  The list was endless.  Starting this fall, Madison’s schedule will finally allow for some FUN!  Every Monday, Madison will go to CHC from 9-11 and see Kaitlyn for speech therapy followed by a group session run by Farah.  On Tuesdays, Madison has story time at BPC Library in the morning and in the afternoon she has her private speech therapy with Michelle in our home.  Wednesday rolls around and Madison heads back to CHC from 9-11, in the afternoon she has a Gymboree class at 3pm.  This is convenient because the location is right outside our building and will not have to travel far come winter months.  Thursday begins with story time at Tribeca library and Michelle in the home for a speech session.  On Fridays, Madison has Clarke group therapy in the morning, followed by two play groups with babies in the neighborhood that afternoon.  Oh and if her schedule isn’t busy enough… On Saturdays Madison has music class with Brian and I.   We are glad that Madison will be able to finally balance her time between work and play.  

Madison is quite distracted with the video camera, but here is a quick snip... Enjoy!

Madison - 14 months old:

Madison - 15 months old:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011… is a day that Brian and I will never forget.   The way we view the world was going to change before us.  It was exactly one year ago today we were told Madison has a profound hearing loss.  The absolute WORST day of my life.  When I think back to that day, my stomach turns, my throat starts to close up and my eyes start to tear…. I wonder at times if these feelings will always remain a part of me when I reflect.

It was a sunny day, bright blue sky above and a warm summer breeze in the air… we headed off to Cornell for Madison’s diagnostic ABR testing.  My mother joined Brian and I for the appointment.  The three of us sat in a small dark room with the audiologist.  Earphones were placed into Madison’s tiny ears and stickers were placed on her forehead.  Madison was in a deep sleep and did not flinch the entire time we were in the room.  We were happy that she was so well behaved… but deep down inside we knew that something was not right.  We were clinging onto every moment of hope.  Little eye contact was made between Brian, myself or my mother – we all had our eyes glued onto our beautiful little girl…. Waiting for Madison to make a reaction to the sounds being pumped into the earphones.  A flinch, sigh, deep breath? Nothing.  The sounds continued to get louder and louder to the point where we were able to hear them ourselves.  Yet Madison continued to stay sound asleep.  All of our hope had completely vanished.  It was only a matter of time until everything truly became a reality.  The audiologist told us that she would be able to meet with us in 45 minutes for the results.  We were glad that we didn’t have to come back the following day.  We strolled along the streets of the upper east side in Manhattan, there was little conversation… I think all of us had the same thoughts going through our heads.

We arrived back to the office, which was down the block from where we went for the actual testing.  The audiologist greeted us and took us down a few hallways than brought us into a tiny room with a circular table and three chairs.  There were three tissue boxes spaced out across the table.  I broke down in tears and sobbed before any words were exchanged.  I wasn’t able to  make any eye contact with Brian or my mother.  All of us were sitting in our chairs crying.  My heart was broken and new motherhood bliss had quickly vanished.  It felt as if Brian and I were pushed out to sea on a tiny wooden boat (with Madison in our arms) – leaving a sunny, white-sanded beach with calm waves – headed towards a deep, dark storm – with no option to turn around.

When I reflect on this day, I often think about what was said during this meeting.  I honestly do not remember any specifics.  I remember being told that your daughter has profound hearing loss.  I remember the audiologist showing us a chart of where most people hear, and Madison’s hearing was nowhere; nonexistent.  I know that we asked a few questions – what were they, well I don’t recall exactly, but I remember that the audiologist answered ‘no’ to all of them.   I recall her saying that many children with hearing loss develop speech equivalent to their hearing peers with things like “hearing aids” and “cochlear implants”. 

I have learned more this past year than I have in the 30 years of my existence.  This journey has taught me more about life than I ever knew.  Because of it, I believe I am a stronger person.  Do I have days where I sit and sulk? I would be lying if I said no.  But each day things DO get better… and it DOES get easier.   Madison continues to amaze me and I am blessed to be the mother of such a smart, loving, beautiful little girl!   Madison is doing very well in therapy and I am confident that she will continue to achieve all milestones that are expected in the coming months.  We have been told that her language (both receptive & expressive) is at that of a “normal” 12 month old child.   Some of Madison’s first words include “Alan”, “Mama”, “Dada”, “Milk”, “More” and “Up”.  She probably understands about 35-40 words by now.  Not bad considering Madison has only been hearing for 5 and a half months! I am so excited with the progress Madison is making and can not wait to see what the rest of the year brings.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Madison's CHC Fundraiser

September 30th, 2012 - SAVE THE DATE

Immediately following the NYC Walk4Hearing, Brian and I will be holding a fundraiser for Madison.   It will be held at The Junction NYC Bar & Grill to support the Center for Hearing and Communication, a not-for-profit organization that provides life-affirming hearing healthcare to  over 20,000 infants, children and adults annually. The event will be held from 1-3pm and culminates with a grand raffle. 

The Junction NYC Bar & Grill
329 Lexington Ave 
New York, NY 10016
(212) 682-7700

$50 per person, includes a two hour open bar, hors d'oeuvres and the chance to win a door prize.  
We will also be selling individual raffle tickets for a chance to win autographed sports items, children's toys and other prizes.  All proceeds to benefit The Center for Hearing and Communication.

To RSVP for this event, please view our Evite at Madison's CHC Fundraiser.

Please check this blog posting periodically for updates.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day

This is my second father’s day.  Last year Madison was only a few days old, and the three of us went to the local diner to get some breakfast.  It was arguably the quickest meal of my life - I felt that before we even finished ordering the food, our meals were in front of us.  We each had about half of our omelets, and then Madison started crying.  Immediately, we knew it was time to go.  I was hungry and sleep-deprived, and all I wanted was just some R&R for my day.   Little did my wife and I know what we had in store for us over the next twelve months.  It would be a few more weeks until we learned about Madison’s hearing loss, and then several more months after that day in July until we learned of the reason why.  I think about it constantly, but I now try and focus on what the future will bring. Madison will be walking soon, she loves to pull herself up and walk along the side of the couch.  Her first word is definitely “AH” for Alan, but I think her second word will be “daddy.”

This year we spent the day out on Long Island with Jennifer's family.  Madison experienced her first ride on a boat!! She was not a fan of wearing the life jacket and let us know very quickly... instead of riding out on the ocean, we rode back to the dock and had lunch on solid ground.  Guess we will have to wait until Madison is a little older until we ride the waves again.  Here are a few pictures from the day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Madison turned ONE on June 8, 2012.  We celebrated her birthday with a party at our apartment with family and friends on June 2nd.  Madison had a monkey-themed birthday party.  Our daughter has always been fascinated by monkeys… In fact, one of the flower baskets that we received after Madison’s birth came with a stuffed monkey.  This animal quickly became Madison’s favorite toy.   In addition to a monkey birthday cake, we had a “balloon artist” from the neighborhood perform for all the little kiddies.  Madison had 6 little friends attend her party, and about 25 adults.  The weather was perfect and we had the event on the rooftop of our building.

With Madison being a year old – naturally, Brian and I have been doing some reminiscing.  Imagine where we were a year ago?  Who would have thought the last 12 months would have gone how they did?  June 8, 2011 was the greatest day of our lives – and we love Madison so much!  From those who are living a similar journey to us, or who are a few years ahead of us – we are constantly reminded to enjoy your little child.  Take a step back from all the therapy and emotions and appreciate the fact you have a beautiful little muchkin!  Today, on our trip to the grocery store, Madison was wearing a sun hat and she kept on trying to put it on her head.  It was so cute…seeing her try to put the hat on her head and getting so frustrated.  Or, seeing her watch the trains at Grandma & Grandpa's house this weekend…and seeing how excited she would get – hence, reminding me of my childhood. 

It has been 10+ months since we learned of the degree of Madison’s hearing loss.  It has been less than 5 months since her surgery…and about 4 months since her activation.  12 months ago I never would have thought how seeing my daughter turn to her name is surreal.  Madison babbles and is continually introducing new sounds.  She rattles off Ma Ma Ma and Da Da Da, but there is no meaning at this moment for either of those.  I believe her first (true) word is “AH” for Alan (Al).  It’s the only time she says “AH” and always points towards the dog.  It really is her best friend.  While her speech is progressing, we feel that her listening and comprehension is really starting to pick up.  This weekend, Grandpa taught her where her “eyes” and “ears” were and she would touch them when asked.  We even had Madison in one of those inflatable plastic outdoor pools in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.  She was a happy baby with a diaper under her swimsuit, and then…she looked up when she heard the plans make their descent into JFK!!!!  And she kept on looking up every time the planes came by… and would point to the sky and say “AAAAAAHHHHH”!  Finally, another event took place this weekend…Madison’s device fell off her ear and she tried to put it back on her head.  I couldn’t believe what I saw…so I knocked it off her head a few minutes later and sure enough – she reproduced the same action…grabbing the processor and trying to put it back.  We never doubted the decision we made to go down the path we chose, however, right then and there, we knew that we made the right decision.  We will attempt to get this on video!

I’m so excited for what the next 12 months will bring, but need to make sure that I cherish and appreciate this next year.  I have learned so much this past year... more than I ever knew was possible.  I am so thankful for how far we have come and continue to look forward to what the future will bring!

Happy Birthday to our sweet (baby) Madison! We love you XOXO

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Mom.  Mommy.  Mama.  Mother.  Madre.  So many words to describe the role, but so few that can adequately explain the wonder of motherhood and just how much it means.  It is so difficult to capture in words, especially when you have been embarking on a journey that you never even knew existed.
Madison has been “hearing” for 3 months now.  At the 6 week mark, her babbling “vocabulary” truly exploded.  Prior to getting her CIs, she was only really crying or using the “ahhh” or an occasional “ooo” vowel sound to communicate.  We have learned that these are the easiest, most basic vocal sounds for any baby to develop… and it is a sound expressed by all babies – hearing or not.  When a child is born deaf, they often exhibit early signs of babbling... but they soon come to an end. Thank you to cochlear implants, Madison's world has now changed.. and so has ours.   
After 6 weeks of “hearing” Madison finally began using consonant sounds! This was a HUGE step forward.  “MMMMM” – this was a sound we would always use as we fed Madison.  A few days later we woke up to: “YAYAYAYA”  &  “RARARARA” over and over again.  The following day, “MAMAMAMA”  “DADADADA”… Oh, music to my heart!   Never in a million years did I ever expect to be so happy to hear these words. 
Below is a special tribute in honor of Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially to my own mother who has taught me so much!

May 8, 2012 - 11 months old

Happy 11 Months to Miss Madison.  We can not believe that she will be turning ONE in just a few weeks!!!

Madison has been crawling a ton, and has been pulling herself to stand up - but is still a bit a way from walking.  Gloria bought Madison a baby doll a few weeks ago, and Madison does not let this baby out of her sight. She sleeps with the baby, eats with the baby and even crawls with the baby.  It's funny how the baby tells the story of her day - oh, are those sweet potatoes all over the baby.  But Madison is a great mom to her baby doll, she hugs it and kisses it - and when we ask her "Where's your baby?" - she even crawls to it.  In addition, she has been using her baby as a form of communication.  When Madison wants to play on the floor, or crawl around, she drops her doll.  If she wants to go outside, she points to the door - but if you happen to walk past the stroller, she will literally throw the doll into the stroller.

Madison has been hearing for 3 months and we have seen noticeable changes - she turns to her name, she has been babbling and we think she even knows the dog's (Alan) name - as she only uses a one syllable word when trying to get the dog's attention ("Ahhhhl")...well maybe sometimes the "L" at the end is missing.  Even though the dog is her best friend, she has become more social in her group therapies, though we hope she breaks out of her shell even more.

Madison's schedule has changed.  She still goes to The Center four times a week for individual speech therapy and attends a weekly group session at The Clarke School.  But, she is now receiving Early Intervention services at our apartment with Michelle - a graduate student at Columbia.  So far, Madison has been very receptive of Michelle and we hope this continues.

Her busy schedule just keeps going.  Therapy, story time at the New York Public Library (see picture, where Madison wanted to be in the circle of attention), Washington Market Park, Music Class, Battery Park, the Pier and of course, Barnes & Noble.  Madison loves the great NYC weather and you might see her gallivanting around Lower Manhattan.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 8, 2012 - 10 Months Old!

April 8, 2012 - 10 month's old today! 

I can't believe how quickly my little girl is growing up.  I feel as though I put her to sleep one day as an infant and she woke up as a grown baby! Where did the time go? It is so easy to get so caught up with her doctor appointments, endless therapy, programming sessions and conventions... time flies more than ever when you are busy!  We need to make a point of stopping every so often and enjoy little Madison for who she is - a cute, loving, happy little girl!
Madison is on the go more than ever these days.  One month ago she was evaluated by a physical therapist with regards to her "lack of crawling".  And today - she is crawling all over the place, pulling herself up to stand and wanting to walk! Pretty sure she will be running from us!

Nanny and Poppy came for a visit 2 weeks ago - here are a few pictures:

We spent this past weekend with family celebrating Passover & Easter:

  My favorite babysitter cousin, Karlye <3

 Yes, that brown blob on the lawn is Alan :)

 Happy in my Grandma's arms as I gnaw on a celery stick!


Monday, April 2, 2012

God's Cake

I received this from my aunt a couple of months ago and have been meaning to post this to Madison's blog.  Thanks Mary for sharing this with me :)

God's Cake

Sometimes we wonder,
"What did I do to deserve this?" or
"Why did God have to do this to me?"
Here is a wonderful explaination.

A daughter is telling her mother how everything
is going wrong, she is failing algebra, her boyfriend
broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her mother is baking a cake and
asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the
daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
"Here, have some cooking oil," her mother offers.
"Yuck" says her daughter..
"How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Mom!"
"Would you like some four then?
Or maybe baking soda?"
"Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies:
"Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves.
But when they are put together in the
right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!"
God works the same way.  Many times we wonder why
He would let us go through such bad and difficult
times.  But God knows that when He puts these things
all in His order, they always work for good! We just
have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all
make something wonderful!

He sends you flowers every spring and
a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe,
and he chose your heart.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Funday... I've mastered two new tricks today!

This video captures two important milestones.
Madison began "turning" towards her name just a couple of weeks ago - it was so nice to witness, but was it just a coincident? Well Madison turns towards her name 99% of the time and we are convinced she knows that is her name. I also believe she knows "dog" & "Alan". When we ask her "where is Alan.... Where is the dog...?" it really seems as if she is looking for him!!
Rewarding with food has finally paid off - it looks like we will spend the upcoming weekend, baby proofing the apartment!

Monday, March 19, 2012

On The Cusp

6 weeks ago, my “ears” were activated.  During this time, I’ve begun to hear sounds I never knew existed…. The microwave warming up my food, a phone ringing, the door buzzing, the dog barking (well, on occasion), my toys playing music, water filling up my bathtub, mommy & daddy calling my name and saying “I LOVE YOU”… the list is endless.   Since my surgery, I have been to the audiologist 4 times, and will continue to go there for the rest of my life.  My therapists, nanny and parents have been training me on the “LING” sounds.  These sounds represent various speech sounds from low to high pitch.  They are very important to focus on because hearing these sounds ensures that I am hearing everyday conversation.  My parents (and therapists) have “special toys” that they use during play time to incorporate each of these 6 sounds:

Ahhhhh – Airplane is flying by and goes “AHHHH”
Eeeee – Monkey says “EEE EEE EEE”
Ooooo – Cow says “MOOOOOO”
Mmmm – This ice cream tastes good “MMMMM”
Shhhh – The baby is sleeping “SHHHHH”
Ssssss – Here comes a Snake “SSSSS”

In addition, Madison had her PT evaluation occur during the first 15 minutes of her individual speech therapy session at Clarke last Friday March 9.  The evaluation occurred at 8:30 am (with her group therapy session from 9-10 am).  The physical therapist joined Daddy, Gloria, Madison and Lauren.  Upon her arrival she asked, “Does Madison like strangers.”  At that point, Daddy knew things weren’t going to go well.  Madison is pretty particular with the people she likes…she has her inner circle of females – mainly Mommy, Gloria and Jessica – and isn’t too fond of any other ladies.  The therapist takes Madison and then lies her on the ground (on her back) expecting her to move around.  Madison doesn’t move at all.  She’s frozen, like a mummy.  The therapist then tries to “move” Madison and immediately tears begin flowing from Madison’s eyes.  The therapist leaves the room and watches from the observation window and Madison becomes a little more mobile.  The therapist then re-enters and Daddy and Gloria discuss her movements at home.  The therapist believes that Madison is on the cusp of crawling, but if she is not crawling within 4-6 weeks, Madison needs to have another evaluation.  After we were done conversing, Madison pointed at the therapist (she loves to point!!!) and then pointed at the door – instructing her to leave.  Everyone laughed. 

The physical therapist also advised us to have Madison spend as much time as possible on the floor, making sure that we place her favorite toys (or favorite dog!) out of reach, which will encourage Madison to explore… Brian and I are amazed at her progress over these past 10 days.   Expect to see a video of the little Miss crawling within the next week or so… She really is THAT CLOSE!  

Despite my busy schedule, there is still time for some F-U-N!

Can't beat 70 degree weather in NYC during "the winter" - First time on a real swing... I'm so in love!

I began weekly music class with 6 other babies my age... I love banging on the drum and playing with the rain stick.  

Check out my new floor mat.... I spend so much time rolling around learning how to crawl.  Somebody else decided to roll around in it as well....

Any guess who the culprit was???

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 8, 2012 - 9 months old today!

Little Miss Madison turns 9 months old today.... 28 inches long and 18.3 lbs! Madison was in serious mode during today's photo shoot and we couldn't crack one smile out of her.  Today was a busy day for everyone - a morning audiology mapping appointment, followed by a mid-day play at the park (thank you for the 70 degree weather in NYC today) and lastly, an afternoon appointment with the pediatrician.... All in all it was a very good day - but the little lady was beyond tired, even for just one tiny smile.
Tomorrow, mark's Madison's 1 month hearing day! Which I can not believe how fast time flies... Things have been progressing very nicely with regards to Madison's hearing and we will be posting an update.
In addition, it has been suggested that Madison receives a Physical Therapy (PT) evaluation.  We received this news yesterday by The Clarke School (which is the location of her speech therapy and group therapy every Friday).  The main reason revolves around the fact that Madison is not crawling at 9 months of age.  We are trying not to get too concerned just yet - Madison will be evaluated tomorrow morning during her speech therapy session.
Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

That's Your Mommy!

We had a 9am appointment at NYU for Madison’s activation this morning.  Madison’s behavior and responses would dictate whether one or both of her ears would be activated.  She did extremely well and both of her ears were activated!  In addition to the NYU audiology staff, a representative from Advanced Bionics was present, as Madison was the first Neptune device activation at NYU.

The staff had already put the Neptune device together, with pink accent covers, which matched Madison’s attire just beautifully!  The magnet inside the Neptune device quickly found the implant and stuck to the outside of her head. Brian and I didn’t know what to expect for the activation...  We were told that she may cry, she may laugh, she may do nothing.  What transpired was a set of reactions similar to her sound booth appointments, but without blaring noises being pumped directly into her ear.  Instead, she was reacting to sound (and sometimes even turning towards sound) that was at conversation levels.

Activation - Left Ear

Everyone was happy with her reactions to the left ear, so they moved onto the right ear.  Again, Madison’s reactions were very similar.  She has always been an extremely attentive child – as we would expect since she’s hard of hearing.  However, during the appointments, it seemed as if she was trying to get everything in, almost on information overload.  She was extremely quiet and only said something once or twice during the entire 1.5 hours.  

Activation - Right Ear

The second half of the appointment was spent with our audiologist and AB representative going over the “two suitcases” we received that was full of equipment, parts, gadgets, etc.  There is a lot of maintenance that will need to be done throughout the day, as well as end of day.  Because there was so much to learn and digest on day 1 (not just for Madison), we will not be receiving/activating her Harmony (backup) device for a few weeks… where we will receive two more suitcases.

The devices were not turned on to full blast.  Instead, the first 3 programs they installed will introduce Madison to sound.  In fact, we need to head back tomorrow to get another set of mappings done…  then a third appointment the following week.  She will then return every month and receive an evaluation mid-May, where she will be put in the sound booth.  Following this evaluation, we were told that Madison would return roughly every 3-4 months until she is an adult – where she will than go for annual visits.  Yes, a lot of appointments for the little lady!!

In the afternoon, we took Madison to The Center for her daily speech therapy appointment with Jessica.  Before our session started, we were greeted by the entire staff - who were so happy to see Madison sporting her new implants! We started at The Center about 6 months ago, and today was really the first day Madison could truly hear sound.   Back in a similar environment, Madison was super-chatty during her session.  Responding to sound, playing with toys.  It was a wonderful seeing her so happy.

There is a long road ahead of us… Many days filled with tears of joy and many days filled with heartache and sorrows.  We look forward to enjoying many rewarding moments as Madison embarks on this journey to sound – many of which most people take for granted.  We hope to give Madison the strength she needs to overcome the many challenges that she will face as she grows older.   

February 8, 2012 - 8 months old!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

All About Madison's New Ears

Many of you have been asking us how Madison's implant will allow her to hear.  Here is a brief overview of how the cochlear implant device works.  Madison received an implant in both her right and left ears.  After much research, Brian and I decided that the Advanced Bionics system is the best choice for our family.  For more information, feel free to view their website:

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf.  Cochlear implants can restore hearing in patients suffering deafness due to loss of sensory hair cells in their cochlea.  They can often restore sufficient hearing to allow understanding of speech in a quiet background, but the restored, electrical hearing is much less rich than natural hearing, and offers only very limited appreciation of musical melody, or speech understanding in noisy environments.

How Hearing with a Cochlear Implant System Works:

A cochlear implant system consists of two main components.  The external component, which consists of a sound processor (one worn on outer ear and the other worn discreetly on body) and a magnetic headpiece (worn on the head).  Madison will have two different types of processors:

Harmony Headpiece & Processor  - worn on the ear

Neptune Headpiece & Processor - worn elsewhere

The internal component is the actual implant, which delivers sound to the hearing nerve.

This diagram below illustrates how a cochlear implant will bypass the "damaged part" of the ear:

- Sound is captured by a microphone on the sound processor.
- The sound processor converts the captured sound into detailed digital information.
- The magnetic headpiece transmits the digital signals to the internal implant under the skin.
- The implant turns the received digital information into electrical information that travels down the electrode array to the auditory nerve.
- The auditory nerve sends impulses to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound.

Just 4 more days until Madison's new ears are turned on for the very first time! We have been looking forward to this day for quite some time.  Stay tuned for a video documenting the moment Madison first hears sound.