Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Journey to Sound

After knowing this awesome family for years, I could only be super delighted to hear about the Journey of the Life of Little Owen.  
Such a special story sent to me by Owens mommy..... Enjoy the read xxx 
please go like the Journey 2 sound FACEBOOK LINK
When Tasmyn Oberholster, now 30,went into early labour at 37 weeks with her second son Owen 
Oberholster in October 2010, the last thing she expected was complications. She’d had a stress-free, easy pregnancy. She’d been on maternity leave since the start of her third trimester. And she was ready and looking forward to her elective caesar that was scheduled for 39 weeks gestation.But on the morning of Owen’s birth, Tasmyn’s healthy pregnancy took a turn for the worse. Intense, excruciating back pain took her off to the Netcare Blaauwberg in Cape Town for an emergency caesar where, mere minutes before Owen was delivered via emergency caesar, her placenta ruptured on the operating table causing Owen to drown in utero. As a result, three-year oldOwen is hearing impaired today, but the outcomecould have been so much worse. Not only could histraumatic birth experience and five weeks in ICU have left him not walking or talking. But hadTasmyn’s emergency caesar happened ten minutes later, neither Owen nor Tasmyn would be heretoday and they are lucky to be alive.
On the morning of October 8 I woke up at about 7am with a bit of a pain in my lower back. While running a bath at 8am, the pain shot all the way across the front of my stomach, and it felt very weird. I knew something was wrong, and I phoned my mother-in-law for help, as my husband was anhour and a half away at work in Worcester. By the time she got to my house a few minutes later, I couldn’t even move the pain was so severe and I felt nauseous. She got me to the hospital 2km away and I was taken straight to the maternity wardwhere I was prepped for theater,” says Tasmyn.

It was here that Tasmyn met the specialist doctor who saved her life – Dr Brand – who was new in 
town and the doctor who happened to be on duty the day Owen was born.
As I leant forward for my spinal block, and my husband came running into the theater, I was hit by a final pain. This was the abruption of my placenta (premature separation of the placenta from the uterus before Owen was delivered) that caused my baby to loose vast amounts of blood,” explains Tasmyn, adding that after Owen was delivered, Dr Brand had to manually contract her uterus for 45 minutes and inserted a B-Lyn stitch around heruterus to control the bleeding.
As soon as Owen was delivered Tasmyn noticedthat her 2.8kg baby boy wasn’t crying. And according to Neonatologist Dr Dippenaar, Owen’sApgars recorded as zero, zero and zero indicating at 1 minute, 5 minutes and 10 minutes after birth.
“Owen had no heartbeat and he wasn’t breathing. He was essentially a stillborn and after a prolonged period of resuscitation including full cardiac massage and multiple doses of adrenalin, we finally attained a weak heartbeat approximately 11 minutes after birth.
Owen was intubated in theater and subsequently transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Blaauwberg Netcare Hospital following successful resuscitation,” he says.
Meanwhile, Tasmyn was rushed off to ICU too. She’d lost seven litres of blood and Dr Brand told her husband, Brandon, that if his wife were going to live, she’d have to stop bleeding and pull through the next critical 12 hours. At the same time, Dr Dippenaar told Brandon that if his son were going to make it, he’d have to survive the next four hours.
“Dr Dippenaar then explained to my husband that in order to save Owen’s brain, he needed to ‘freeze’ it for three days and give it a chance to repair itself – something that is possible in children under 6 who drown. It’s known as hypothermic treatment and, although tested overseas, is a rare and relatively new treatment in South Africa. It’s not covered by medical aids, as its results are not guaranteed. Regardless, Brandon decided to go for it and after three days of the induced coma, Owen was woken up on Day 4,” recalls Tasmyn, who came out of ICU herself on the third day.
“Had they not done the treatment, Owen would have been brain damaged and we would have had to turn off the machines. Instead, a brain MRI at N1 City Hospital on Day 7 revealed that there was no 
immediate damage to Owen’s brain – although things could still go wrong,” she says.
Despite three to four seizures a day and being on every kind of life support and monitoring machinepossible for three weeks, Owen made it and wasreleased after five weeks in NICU once his feeding issues were resolvedIt was a heart-wrenching,agonising time for Tasmyn who only got to 
hold her baby for the first time when he was three weeks old,and it was incredibly challenging too.
I hadn’t planned to breastfeed Owen. But on Day 4 when Dr Dippenaar told me that it would be either be my milk or a donor’s milk that Owen would get, I started to pump. only got 1ml per pump everythree hours which was incredibly frustrating, but Igradually increased the amount to 2ml and by Day 7, I got 30ml per pump and he only needed 7ml – so I was ahead of target. When I struggled – I remained strong during the day but cried a lot at night – Dr Dippenaar encouraged me to stick a 
picture of Owen onto the pump so that I could physically see what I was pumping for. When I did that, the milk just flowed.”
After everything that her baby had been through, Tasmyn didn’t expect life post discharge to be smooth sailing and she wasn’t surprised when Owen failed his ear tests at 6 weeks and again atthree months. At 6 months, he had another brain MRI where it was revealed that her miracle baby could 
possibly be deaf and many tests and visits later it was confirmed, at 8 months, that Owen wasindeed hearing impaired.
We were so joyous that, so far, this was all that was wrong with our boy. Besides, I already knew.Owen was such a quiet baby who slept through the night right from the start. I’d also been told by an expert audiologist at 6 months (when he could sit and turn his head) to monitor Owen’s reactions to sound. I could tell that he didn’t notice when his brother entered the room. And he only 
heard extremely loud noises like banging doors or the sounds of the rubbish removal guys,” shemaintains.
Since Owen’s case wasn’t severe enough for a cochlear implants, when he was 10 months old, hewas the very first baby in South Africa to be fitted with the worlds smallest, external hearing aids –the extremely advanced Widex Baby440. Without it, Owen has less than twenty percent hearing. But as soon as each R27 500 unit is switched on, his hearing sits at about ninety percent clarity.
“I’ll never forget the day he was fitted. He wasn’t inthe best of spirits as everyone was fiddling with 
his ears including the director of Widex who’d flown down to Cape Town for the event. But as soon
as we got into out bakkie and the engine started up, his little eyes just lit up like you could not 
believe and I knew – my baby boy could hear. Watching him turn his head to listen to the sounds o
trucksand sirens as we drove home, and seeing him hear his brother when we got home, brought tears to our eyes. After that, he smiled more, he engaged more, and his personality completely changed, beams Tasmyn.
At first, Owen had to stay home to adapt to his hearing aids that have never really bothered him – he knows they help him – and receive one on one attention. But today he attends Carel du Toit School For The Hearing Impaired And Deaf and he is excelling at everything and is top of his class. He’svery physical and fit and four months shy of his third birthday, has just started talking properly and stringing 5-word sentences together which is incredible considering he only said “Mama” for the first time at age 2. What’s more, when his hearing aids come off at night, Tasmyn has noticed that he can lip read too.
“Since he couldn’t hear for that first year, he’s a year behind so to speak. But he’s caught up so nicely since being at school for a term since, that by the time he’s 6the school (who’s been monitoring him since he was 1 on a weekly basis for speech therapyreckons he may be able to attend a mainstream school. He still doesn’t pronounce everything clearly, and he definitely has fewer words than other kids his age. But my boy is clever– he can sing the alphabet song and can do things that even his older brother can’t doHe’s special – just like Dr Dippenaar joked in ICU that he would be. And he’s alive which, at the end of the day, is all that really counts.”
With September having arrived and it being Deaf awareness month I wanted to share our amazing story with you and thank the community from the bottom of my heart for helping us get my son the surgery he needed to give him full sound in his left ear that will help his speech development and ideally he will be able to attend mainstream schooling and live a normal life.
I have attached his birth story published a year ago in Your Baby magazine, further to the attached his speech was not developing as we had hoped and so his Audiologist who is based at Carel du Toit 
school for the deaf suggested we go through the ├žochlear implant team and see if he qualifies for an 
implant. We had to have an ABR done
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) is an auditory evoked potential extracted from ongoing electrical activity in the brain and recorded via electrodes placed on the scalp. The resulting recording is a series of vertex positive waves of which I through V are evaluated. These waves, labeled with 
Roman numerals in Jewett and Williston convention, occur in the first 10 milliseconds after onset of an auditory stimulus. The ABR is considered an exogenous response because it is dependent upon external factors.[1][2][3]
followed by a Brain MRI and CT scan, once all these tests were completed along with the various auditory tests done weekly / monthly with his audiologist we were informed in June 2014 he was indeed a candidate we then contacted Discovery who informed us that they only cover R170 000 and 
that we would need to pay the balance of R80 000 ourselves. With Owen turning 4 in October and having been hearing impaired since birth and his speech development a bit behind normal 4 year olds we wanted the surgery done asap, some families in the system have been saving and fundraising for 6 months + and I was not sure i could handle that physically or emotionally and we started a FB group 
whereby family and friends could donates funds and we set out to have a fun run to raise the funds. Greg from Clean C Beach Clean up heard about the event and was on board within minutes, a true legend I tell you! The event was held on 27 July and never in my wildest dream did I expect a turnout of close to 450 entries and the event raising R25 000 for the day with the guys from Moyo getting involved with free coffee's and donating to Owens Op as well, Redbull, Coke,  to Sportsmans Warehouse, Scooters, The SweatShop and many other companies donating prizes and getting 

Word got out via my father in law Barry who manages the Dune Ridge Estate in Big Bay and we had close on 100 of the residents join us on the day and give further donations to help with the fund raising. The following week I heard via a close friend that Table View Primary was doing a civvies day to raise funds for Owen, we were then invited to attend an assembly morning with the school where they educated the learners about his disability and we were informed that the school had raised R12 000.00 though the students and various donations. Furthermore our amazing family both in SA and abroad sent funds along with our friends and even random strangers reading about Owens story 
and helped by donating and we are absolutely greatful and so blessed to be part of such an amazing 
community. We raised all the necessary funds and Owen had his Op on Monday the 4th August, all went well and the surgeon was happy. We were discharged the next day and Owen was home for 1 week recovering and then went back to school. Payment was made for the remaining R80 
000 last week and we we then had his "switch on'' this is where they put the external device on and he can then hear. We have started it on a lower setting just to get him used to now permanently having 
sound as apposed to only hearing loud noises and it will be turned up and tuned gradually once or twice a week over the next 2 - 3 weeks and then monthly until we get him to a level where it is processing sound at a frequency best for his hearing loss.
Owen is a very sporty and active little boy and we look forward to giving the best therapy and 
rehabilitation going forward to get him up to speed for his age, the road is long but we are ready & 
willing to give it our best.
Cochlear Implant A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
I can never thank everyone enough. Never
I have attached my pics of Owen with myself, dad Brandon and brother Ethan with his teacher, speech therapist & Audiologist who all came to support the fun run, the successful fun run, the device and a diagram showing exacting what a CI is. An internal micro chip and the external processor and how this little quarter million rand device will change my little mans life forever. 
I have plenty more photos of Owen and I will happily meet if anyone would like to see us, if you could publish something for "deaf awareness month'' and include our story that would be amazing but what i want to get out of this is the miracle of life and sound and our amazing community.
Thank you

The latest update from little Owens mom is 
Hello everyone, just an update. Its been 10 days and I think its safe to say Owen is super comfortable with the processor (external device). The first 8 days he complained every morning for a few minutes for us to stop the music (sounds he hears), it took some cuddles and mini adventures to spy on the dogs to take his mind off it and now he is absolutely fine with it. He is wearing it up to 13 hours a day which is great and we have noticed a major difference in him responding to various new sounds. We are still tuning the device over the next 2-3 weeks to get it perfect but everything is going well 

Well done to the Oberholster & Beer Family on your wonderful courage, determination, energy, efforts & Love xxx