Yes, they are…

I feel I have spent the last two and a half years saying, “Yes, they are” at every turn! My simple catchphrase started at the birth of my triplets, Lydia, Madeleine and Owen, in February 2003. On every single outing, some kind stranger will approach me and ask, “Are they triplets?” My answer, “Yes, they are.” Well, that catchphrase has new meaning these days. When someone spots the hot pink ear molds on one daughter, or the minty green ear molds on another daughter, the stranger asks, “Are they deaf?” My zippy answer — you got it, “Yes, they are.” (OK, so the girls are not technically deaf, just mild/moderate hard of hearing, but pointing that out would take some zip out of my catchphrase, right?)

As if having triplets didn’t make me feel like a freak show already, I continue enduring the random stranger inquiring about my children’s ears! But, like the inevitable nosy questions (did you take fertility meds, do triplets run in your family, are they identical, yada, yada), I’ve learned to take it in stride. Heck, even my hearing son has a snappy retort these days. Someone recently noted the aids on the girls, and turned to my son, asking him why he DIDN’T have a pair. Owen’s reply, “I don’t need hearing aids; I have ears!” Out of the mouth of babes!

I knew from birth that Lydia potentially had some hearing loss, since she failed her newborn screening and subsequent tests over the next eight months. What I didn’t expect was another kid to also have some hearing loss. They passed newborn screenings with flying colors. Madeleine’s loss was only discovered when my wise audiologist suggested all three babies be retested at 12 months, since the aggressive medical treatment required for prematurity can lead to loss. Yeah, right, OK, whatever! I tested the other two just to humor her. Guess what? The second daughter did, in fact, have a similar level of hearing loss. My son, the squirt of the litter and initially the weakest, had perfect hearing. Go figure!! The girls were aided around 14 months, and began speech therapy and aural rehab around 18 months. At 24 months, they tested at a 12-month-old level in speech. That was a gut-wrenching day, learning my beautiful girls were so delayed. Today, at 32 months, they test at age-appropriate levels and I have to fight to keep speech therapy approved for them. Woo-hoo! All that therapy pays off!

Who knows what’s ahead for my merry band of three? Nothing but giggles, I hope. Looking back on the past 2+ years, I ponder what lessons I have learned. I have decided that most people are being kind, that most people are naturally curious, and that most people give me an opportunity to talk about the marvels of modern-day technology. I now take a few minutes to advocate for hearing loss rights, to show one more person that folks with hearing aids don’t need them to shout, that kids are resilient, and that I lead a normal life most days. My normal day just happens to include 12-15 diaper changes, an awkward attempt to hold three hands at once when crossing the parking lot, and hunting high and low for four little hearing aids in all the nooks and crannies of our toy-jammed home. Heck, I’m even thinking of getting a personalized license plate that reads: YESTHYR

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