The apple of my eye, my little piece of heaven, my answered prayer, the one who has completed our family.
Kohlee was born on November 8, 2018, at 9:50 a.m. I still remember her sweet cry the moment she entered this world. I remember the doctors talking about her long lashes & her full head of hair. As any parent would, I also remember frantically counting her fingers and toes as she lay beside me getting cleaned up. I also remember the nurse pointing to her ear, but I paid no mind to it, but the moment they laid her on my chest, I noticed something strange, something different. I noticed Kohlee's left ear, her cute, fuzzy, tiny little malformed ear. That's when the doctor mentioned how at first she thought it was just bent and folded up from the position she had been in a while in the womb, but when they cleaned her, that's when she noticed it actually wasn't, and that is when she told me it didn't fully form. As soon as I saw her, it was love at first sight, finally my little girl! The little girl I so longed for and the little girl I prayed countless nights for. I couldn't stop staring at her, her thick black hair, the tiny little dimple on her chin, and the insanely close resemblance to that of her brothers. I was in Awe! I had no time to react to the situation with her ear because I was too busy admiring her.
As I returned to my room from the operating room, it hit me! My heart started racing as I tried to wrap my head around what was going on. My baby only has one ear, now what?! The tears wouldn't stop falling, and all I could think about was her little ear. I felt like I couldn't even enjoy my newborn because my mind was traveling at 100mph, trying to figure out what I did wrong. I felt shocked, denial, grief, and anger all at the same time! Finally, the on-call pediatrician came in, looked her over, and stated that she was a perfectly healthy baby, BUT- she had MICROTIA. A word I had never heard before, a word that would change our lives forever. One of the things that he was quick to tell me was that "it wasn't anything that you did or didn't do during the pregnancy." It happens within the first trimester of pregnancy, and it could affect anyone. But I couldn't help but feel guilty and blame myself as I kept going over and over in my head about the things that I did in those past 39 weeks of pregnancy. Was it stress or anxiety? Was it all the nail products that I used daily for work? Was it because of the subchorionic hematoma I had early in pregnancy? Was it because of my low lying placenta? What did I do wrong? Why me? Why my baby?
The next few hours were overloaded with information, new words, concerns, and lots of googling.
Microtia is a congenital deformity where the pinna (external ear) is underdeveloped. Microtia can be unilateral (one side only) or bilateral (affecting both sides) in Kohlee's case, the left ear. Atresia is the absence of the opening of the ear canal, which meant Kohlee would not be able to hear from her left side. Microtia is known to occur 1 in every 12,000 births making it extremely rare, so if you've never seen anyone walking around with just ONE ear, that is why.
And that's when I realized that in life, we do not receive anything we are not capable of handling. The unknown still remains, and there is not enough information on the cause of Microtia. The doctors say it just happens not a very reassuring answer for us as parents, but hey, what can we do? As she gets older, we have to keep a watchful eye for any speech delays or any other signs that Kohlee may need more support for speaking and hearing. But we recently had a visit with a specialist in San Antonio that put my mind at ease and assured me that Kohlee would be able to lead a fairly normal life with just one EAR, even though he recommended getting a hearing device for her, as it will help with her speech as she's growing. We don't want her to miss out on anything. As the days go by, I am finding peace in my heart, trying to accept that it really wasn't anything that I did to cause her ear to be underdeveloped and that things like this happen in our lives to make us stronger and better. So today, I am better and stronger for ME, for my FAMILY, and for my KOHLEE. As she grows up, I do not want people to feel sorry for her or to have pity for her. I just want kindness and acceptance as it should be towards any person. But what I fear most is for her to be bullied because she is different, I know I won't be able to shield her forever (even though I wish in my heart I could). We are not all equal. Even though she was born a little different, she still has the right to be respected for who she is, and she is already so much more than her little ear. So as parents, we will do our best to raise her to be strong and confident! We don't know what the future holds, but we're ready! And if she ever asks me why her ear is different from everyone else, I'll simply tell her the truth... “That God whispered into her ear that he loves her without doubt, and then he closed her ear up tight so the whisper wouldn't get out!"
My special girl- My Kohlee Kae