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Chapter 4 Meet the Daniels Family Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity—a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother. —Rose Kennedy, 1890–1995 It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand the complexities faced by hearing parents of deaf children without first appreciating some of the challenges d/Deaf individuals have confronted throughout history as well as controversies over issues of communication and education that have created a decades-long divide. The previous three chapters serve as a preface to the story of the Daniels family and allow us to better appreciate their dilemmas and enter into their reality. No life experience compares with the anticipation of the birth of a child in its ability to inspire hope for what will be. “I spend my down time hoping to feel the baby move. Every kick, punch, and swirl brings happiness to my heart. I love feeling the movement. I love this child so much already. I can’t wait to meet her. I can’t wait to hold her and kiss her fingers, cheeks, and toes. And, yes, I can’t wait to introduce her to this world.” Such were some of the thoughts and feelings that played through Ginny’s mind as she carried her daughter in her womb, anticipating the birth and the changes it would bring to her life 58 GETTY_C04_Revised.indd 58 05/03/14 11:44 pm Meet the Daniels Family 59 and to that of her husband, Bob. Mingled with feelings of excitement and anticipation, however, intermittent and unvoiced “what if” questions surfaced from time to time. Considering the possibility of giving birth to a child with an exceptionality is most likely normal for most expectant mothers. For Ginny, who works as an activity therapy associate and nursing assistant with adults with developmental disabilities, such a possibility was one that could never be entirely dismissed, but it was not something that occupied a great deal of her attention. Ginny and Bob grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same schools. They became high school sweethearts and were married when Ginny was 23 and Bob, 25. After establishing themselves in their respective professions and purchasing a home, they beganplanningforthebirthof achild.Ginnynotes,“Wewereready for a change in our lives and looked forward to the challenge of parenting.” Upon learning of her pregnancy, Ginny began journaling in a “pregnancy diary.” She documented normal neonatal development based on the results of a sonogram completed at 9½ weeks of gestation,adding,“Bobtreatsmelikeaqueen.”At14weeksGinny recorded hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time: “It was loud and strong.” Kyler was born in the wee hours of December 8, 1988, the product of an unremarkable full-term pregnancy, labor, and delivery . Kyler and her parents were discharged from the hospital at 10 p.m. the following evening after enjoying a steak dinner provided by the hospital and visits from family and friends. Reflecting on her demeanor at the time Ginny observes, “I had always been quiet and shy, Bob was much more outgoing. I knew I would have to become more assertive in my role as a mother. I started to come out of my shell a little bit when we attended childbirth classes. I wanted to know as much as possible about what I was embarking upon. Little did I realize that childbirth would be a ‘breeze’ compared to the unexpected roadblocks we would come up against while raising Kyler.” GETTY_C04_Revised.indd 59 05/03/14 11:44 pm 60 Building Bridges, Crossing Borders Their desire, as 30- and 32-year-old first-time parents, was to enjoy their daughter and delight in watching her grow, learn, and mature. Bob, a foreman with the city’s property improvement program, went back to work almost immediately after Kyler and Ginny’s homecoming. Ginny added two weeks to the standard six-week maternity leave at her place of employment in order to bond with her newborn and make sure caretakers were in place prior to her return to the workforce. Ginny realistically reflects, “As I recall, life was good, but anytime you bring home a new baby there is stress . . . and [there are] questions. It was a totally different lifestyle.” Among the stresses...


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