I met Danielle when she hired me to capture her wedding day in 2015. The day was beautiful filled with family, friends, and so much love. With their laid back personality’s and Deven’s ridiculous humor, they quickly became a few of my favorite people and friends. At their one year anniversary shoot Danielle shared with me, she could not hear out of one ear and only half of sounds in her other due to a genetic condition. I was shocked. I had many conversations with Danielle and had no idea. I mean, I was with them for 8 hours on their wedding day! She told me she is a master lip reader. Talk about being impressed!
In January 2017 I got the amazing message all photographer’s want from their wedding couples, Danielle and Deven were expecting their first bundle of love. On Friday the 13th of October, adorable sweet Harrison joined the world. Harrison was perfect. After a long pregnancy of gestational diabetes we celebrated his arrival with donuts! One of the greatest gifts about having children is getting to hear all the sweet sounds they coo, first words, and cries when they need you, Danielle was missing this. She could hear him cry in the opposite room or at night. As a mother of 4, I couldn’t imagine this. As a new Mom, Danielle decided she needed better, for her son. So she sought out on a cochlear implant journey.
“I couldn't hear my son cry in another room. I couldn't have conversations in various social settings. I'm an autism teacher. I couldn't understand my students when responding to questions. I couldn't hear police sirens, tornado sirens, rain hitting the roof, thunder, insects, and so much more.”
Dante, Danielle’s Dad received his implants in July 2015 and April 2018. Growing up with the obstacles of having a parent that couldn’t hear, Danielle knew she wanted different. His journey inspired her to go for the cochlear implant. Despite the unknown and possibly long recovery, Danielle this to have a better relationship with her son.
“On my wedding day, 6/13/2015, I picked out a song for my dad. The lyrics were perfect. As we danced, my dad couldn't hear the words to the song. The song that I picked out just for him.
My dad and I didn't have a close relationship, due to his hearing loss. We couldn't communicate well with each other and have deep, meaningful conversations.
My dad is in his mid-50's and just now experiencing the hearing world. I didn't want to wait 30, 40, or 50 years to hear.
This is my reason. My son. I want to hear my son as he learns to talk. I want to hear him cry. I want to hear him say "mama." I want him to come to me to have conversations about his day, his friends, and his love life. I want to hear the words to the song he chooses for his Mother-Son dance.
Harrison is my reason for this journey.”
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 Danielle went in for her surgery. Everything went perfect, she felt amazing, and she rocked recovery. On November 28, 2018 she was activated. Bringing along her biggest supporters, Hubby, Harrison, Mom, and Dad, (plus a news crew so she could share her story with others.) When she reached out to me, I knew I couldn’t miss this. Getting to see her hear Harrison talk for the first time, was a moment I will not forget. There were definitely tears and lots of smiles of joy. Dante stated, “This is a great journey for her to be on and I know she will do well”.
On day 2 of being activated, Danielle started to hear things she never heard before.
“I was sitting in my classroom. All alone. I kept hearing the strangest noise, but couldn’t figure it out. After 5 minutes of looking around my classroom trying to figure it out, I realized it was my clock ticking. A sound I never heard before. "
Today included hearing the ticking of a clock, hearing the keys on my laptop as I typed, and leaves crunching underneath my feet.”
How amazing is that? The simplest sound like crunchy leaves, brought her joy!
I love that I was asked to be apart of this journey and these three amazing people’s lives. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes Danielle.
Danielle is sharing her journey publicly to hopefully inspire others to have the courage and strength to have better. You can follow her journey on Facebook here. Below I have posted the news article on Danielle as well as some information on cochlear implants.
KMOV story: Here
Cochlear Implant information: Here
Danielle’s Surgeon: Here