Kaylin's Journey to Sound

Hello and welcome to our page.

"How are you?"
"I'm fine thank you, how are you?"

"Fine kank you."

No, I did not make a spelling mistake. This is how my 5-year-old, hearing-impaired daughter speaks.

She wasn't born deaf. She was a healthy baby girl, born by Caesarean section on 9 February 2009 in Cape Town.

I was excited about the surprise pregnancy and even more so, when I was told I was carrying a baby girl. My son was four years old at the time, and we were going to have a 'pigeon pair', our little family would be complete.

I fell in love with my baby, as moms do, from the moment I held her in my arms. Like most parents, I had big hopes and dreams for her. I could just picture her at her first ballet concert, cute in her little pink ballet shoes and tutu. Her big brother wasn't too impressed with her, though, because he wanted a baby brother, but he soon adjusted to the idea of having a little sister instead. We named her Kaylin Jean. Jean is my mom.

Kaylin and I were discharged a few days later and our lives continued, excited about the future.

A few months later, when Kaylin was four months old, she developed a high fever and I rushed her to the Emergency Room. It would be two days before she was finally diagnosed as having contracted bacterial meningitis. MY WORLD CRASHED! My heart sank to my toes. Every hope, every dream seemed like a distant fantasy! Sitting on the couch in the hospital's waiting room, between my husband and the doctor, I felt an overwhelming sense of fear, especially when the doctor told us she had a 50:50 chance of survival! The heaviness I felt in my heart was indescribable.

The news on that cold June Saturday morning was the start of what would become the most terrifying period of my life.

Kaylin spent two weeks in hospital and during that time she suffered 9 seizures! Add to that multiple blood tests and transfusions. Her little arms were bruised where the needle had entered her tiny veins.

I sat at her bedside every day praying, hoping, drawing on my faith for her recovery. I had never felt so fearful in my life. Kaylin fought back bravely and recovered. I am forever grateful to the doctors and nursing staff who took such great care of her.

When she finally came home it took a few weeks before she returned to her 'old self' again. For days she would just lay there, the sparkle in her eyes dimmed by the terrifying ordeal she had endured. I longed to see her smile, to interact with her. I missed my baby girl. The day she smiled at me again for the first time since her illness was the happiest moment.
I returned to work soon after and life went back to normal.

In March 2010, we'd just celebrated Kaylin's 1st birthday the previous month. She had developed a cold and as a precaution my husband took her to our GP for a check-up. My mom suggested (thank goodness for moms!) that the doctor examine her ears as she'd noticed that Kaylin wasn't responding when her name was called; nor was she startled when a door banged shut. Not expecting to hear any bad news, we took her advice. The GP referred my husband to an ENT and thereafter to an audiologist.

I remember being so nervous sitting in the audiologist's office, while she was conducting the tests. The look on her face said it all... The news that my precious baby girl was deaf came as a huge shock! I burst into tears right there.

And so started our journey to give Kaylin back the gift of sound. A gift that was silently and slowly taken from her without her permission, by a virus that invaded her tiny body several months before. And what a journey it's been! A journey that saw me experience a roller coaster of emotions from shock to fear, sadness to anger, resentment to grief and finally acceptance. A cycle that took 4 years to complete.My daughter has fought bravely during this journey - for her life, for the gift of sound and ultimately for the opportunity to learn speech and language.

This is our story.

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