Many of you know from me or through word of mouth that Jeremy and I have been concerned about Luke's lack of speech. Our concern started in March when, at over 18 months old, Luke still wasn't using any words. (He definitely speaks - it's just in his own language. =D) Since then, we've had speech evaluations, hearing tests, speech therapy, and several doctors' visits, which culminated in yesterday's audio brainstem response (ABR) test held at Cook Children's. The picture above is of our brave little man coming out of anesthesia after his hearing test, which he passed with flying colors! We're so thankful, particularly after he failed a hearing test in late June, that he has no permanent, nerve-related hearing damage. It's a huge blessing!
What is still difficult, however, is the many questions that persist. If Luke can hear, then why isn't he speaking? He had fluid in his left ear, and that left ear drum was not moving. This issue with this ear has appeared at two-thirds of the appointments he has been to since July. After a long talk with a pediatric ENT nurse today, I feel fairly certain that we may end taking the ear tube route with Luke; although the ABR results indicate his hearing nerves work, the persisting fluid can distort and muddle the sounds he hears. In other words, he is speaking the way a kid his age would, but he's just making sounds the way he hears them. We'll see if time and tests bear this out when we return to the pediatric ENT late October.
We are blessed to live in an era of great medical wisdom - that is certain. But I've also got to tell you that the technology age also kind of sucks when you're an already-worried parent. (Forgive me: I'm sure to indulge in some moments of pity. Thanks in advance for understanding.) Even though my gut feeling is that Luke is going to speak when he's darn good and ready, it still breaks my heart when I read friends' Facebook statuses about funny things their children say. It breaks my heart that I've never been called Mama and Jeremy's not been called Daddy. It scares me that a simple Internet search on speech delay results in so many links about autism, which, while absolutely not a death sentence, is still scary. I feel guilty - is this because I haven't read to him enough? Is it because he watches too much TV? Is it because I work? While I know that the answers to these questions are no, that Luke is who he is because God knit him in my womb according to His plan and purpose, I still, in moments of weakness (and heck, who am I kidding - exhaustion) feel like I've done something wrong here.
When I snap out of these funks, however, I do remember, do feel in my heart, that Luke is "fearfully and wonderfully made." I know that, talking or not, I love that little boy more than anything in the world. I know that he has a bright road ahead of him! And, most of all, I know how blessed he is and how blessed Jeremy and I are that we have so many people who support us through prayer and kind thoughts. I can't thank you all enough for how supportive you've been! We love you bunches!
I will close with another picture of Luke in his gown, because it is simultaneously cute and pitiful. :)