When did you realize that something wasn’t “normal”?
Alexandra was born on the first day of Spring and has been nicknamed “Sunshine” ever since.
We had a quick and easy delivery, just seven and a half hours. Alexandra popped into this world with a smile and maintains that enthusiasm and zest for life to this day. For the first three weeks, all seemed normal. Then the ear infections started. Our lives, even though we didn’t yet recognize it, were about to change.
Alexandra was about seven months old when we moved into our new home in Louisville, Kentucky. As in many new homes, there was still work to be completed and in our case it was on the roof directly above the baby’s bedroom. Realizing that there was a baby in the house, the foreman knocked on the door and asked about Alexandra’s nap time and wanted to know if they were disturbing her with all of the hammering on the roof.
I told him she was sleeping but would go and check. Yes, still soundly asleep. Odd I thought, they’ve been pounding nails only a few feet above her head and she didn’t stir. After that day, I don’t know what it was but I started watching her behavior more closely.
A few days later I went to check on her during her nap. I opened the door and watched her playing in her crib. Her back was to me. I called out “Hello Sunshine” and she didn’t turn around. I called a bit louder and still no notice, no response. I flipped the light switch up and down and her little blond baby head spun around -- all smiles. I didn’t know for sure what to make of this situation and I certainly did not want to consider that my baby, my Alexandra, my Sunshine couldn’t hear.
But I was on my guard and as the week went on I began to notice that Alexandra did not respond when she had her back to me. Yet when I stomped on the floor she would immediately turn and crawl to me.
It was also around this time that I became aware that Alexandra did not babble or coo like other babies. Watch a baby in their bouncy chair, playpen or swing; they jibber-jabber, burble and make sounds, sometimes even startling themselves. They are mimicking what they hear. Alexandra never did that.
The shadow convinced me. I was sitting on the floor playing with Alexandra when her sister slammed open the back door. Alex didn’t even look up nor did she respond to her sister’s loud “Hello Baby”. As her sister came closer, she passed in front of the window throwing a shadow over Alexandra. She quickly turned her head to see what was happening then reached up for her sister.
That was the moment. The exact moment that I knew something was going on. Alexandra, Sunshine, was seven months old and our journey was about to begin.