Thursday, October 11, 2012

Norah's Voice

When Norah was first born, I remember the sad whimpering sounds that she made right before they whisked her away to the NICU. However, I don't remember the sound of her cry during those first six weeks before she was trach'd. She very rarely cried. I'm not fully sure if that was because of her calm temperament, or because she was too focused on fighting so hard to live.

During this recent stay in the PICU, an orthopedic resident came by to adjust Norah's hip harness (that she wears nightly). While he was adjusting it, he looked up at her, and asked, "Is she trying to cry?" I answered, "No, she is crying". It took him a hardly perceptible moment to register that she didn't make sound because of her trach. "Oh," he joked, "that must be nice to not have to hear her cry." I kept calm, and told him, "Actually, I've told parents that if they have ever wished for a mute button on their child, they should come meet Norah. It really very sad actually." He didn't bring it up again until right before he left the room when he looked over at her, and conceded that, "Oh, that is pretty sad to not be able to hear her."

DUH. He's the sort of guy that gives residents a bad name.

Her lack of voice sucks pretty bad actually. Some children/adults learn to move their vocal chords around the trach tube (especially if/when there is a leak/extra space around it), and some do not. Norah does not make sound. The times that she has made sound while coughing or crying, we know that there is something very very wrong. But I ache to hear her sweet voice. And I know that when I first hear her truly use it, I will be in tears.

The other day, Harper had Norah in a fit of laughter like I had never seen before. She's had her fair share of belly laughs, but this was intense. We didn't catch the height of it, but below is a video clip. Unfortunately, it probably won't be visible on mobile devices, but computer users, enjoy! It shows that even though Norah isn't vocal, we hear her loud and clear with our hearts.

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