High / Low

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Do y’all ever sit around the dinner table and talk about the highs and the lows of your day or week with your family? I cannot believe I’m about to admit this, but back before I was married or had a blog or had a family, (meaning I had all the time in the world to do nothing) I used to watch the Kardashians like it was my job. And one of the few positive things I took away from the show was the fact that they each always went around the dinner table sharing the highs and lows of their days! I’ve tried to start implementing that during our family dinners because I love the idea so much! Who cares that it came from a not-so-great source? 😉

So I’ll share the high and low from my week last week. Here goes:

The high of my week last week was getting back our photos from Dempsey’s newborn-turned-family session with photographer friend Lauren Liddell! Lauren has done all of our newborn sessions for us and we just ADORE her work! (Wilson’s here and here, Lily Ryan’s here!) Lauren is amazing and has become a sweet friend from us having worked together so many times over the years. Lauren, you are THE BOMB, and I could not love the photos any more!

The low of our week last week was finding out that Dempsey has “profound hearing loss.” Which means he is completely deaf. We knew he had some hearing loss, but we were not expecting for it to be this extreme. Goodness, I get emotional just typing that.

Before I get into more about Dempsey’s sweet little ears, I wanted to share my favorite black and whites from our sesh with Lauren! Black and white just seems appropriate for a high and low post, right? I’ll share the color ones tomorrow 🙂

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

Newborn family photography with Mississippi photographer Lauren Liddell

So. Dempsey’s ears.

Let me begin by saying that GOD IS SO GOOD. Despite this surprising and life-altering news about Dempsey, we still have just this insane peace about it all! We are not worried, not anxious, not scared for him, or anything along those lines. I’d say that, because of God’s goodness and love, we are actually excited to see how He uses this twist in our family’s story for His good. Yeah, it stinks that he might not ever have full hearing, but he will thrive in this world. I just know it!

We found out when Dempsey was two days old that he might have hearing loss, since they’ve started screening newborns before leaving the hospital here. We went for an ABR (hearing test) at our children’s hospital, Blair E. Batson, when he was 12 days old to find out more about the situation. He was not ultra cooperative during this test, so the results weren’t super accurate, but it was determined that he likely had “mixed mild hearing loss.”

Fast forward to January 3rd. Dempsey is two months. We do a repeat ABR with a different audiologist. Thankfully Dempsey is much more cooperative this go round! This doctor (who was absolutely fabulous, by the way! The first one was, too!) found that he has “profound hearing loss.” She was playing sounds up to 95 decibels directly into his ears, and he didn’t hear a thing. Slept right through the whole thing.

“Profound hearing loss” means that his deafness cannot really be helped by regular hearing aids. We are, however, getting him some regular hearing aids later this month at the advice of our audiologist to keep his hearing nerves stimulated so they don’t atrophy! This will likely do very little (if anything) to help him actually hear. It’s just a good measure to take to keep his nerves doing the best they can at this point!

We will soon be getting an MRI at the advice of the fabulous ENT to whom we were referred, to see what exactly the issue inside Dempsey’s ears is. From that point, we will likely make a move toward cochlear implants, assuming everything inside those darling ears is able to support such! This implant can’t be done until closer to 6 months because of necessary vaccines and preferred maturity, but in the grand scheme, that is just around the corner!

We met with an early interventionist on Friday who actually has two cochlear implants herself! She was fabulous and had incredible speech and communication skills. She was a perfect picture of how successful and “normal” one can be with an issue so similar to Dempsey’s. She was truly a godsend for us! We talked about so much stuff that I personally got a bit overwhelmed. Which is one of the bajillion reasons why I’m so glad I’m married to Price Donahoo! He has retained every single word spoken to us by every doctor, and he asks great questions, which help me better understand what all we are being told. He is, without a doubt, the best person in the world for me to walk with through something like this! Thank you, God, for my darling husband 🙂

Right now we have all sorts of balls rolling to meet with early intervention programs, special schools, different therapists, and all that stuff. We feel incredibly blessed to be supported by such a tight knit community of doctors and therapists here in Jackson! Huge shout out to my friend Lauren who got the ball rolling with us getting such early appointments with the audiologist and the ENT, and to the fabulous doctors we have seen thus far. Every single one has been outstanding. As it turns out, the ENT who we see has performed a cochlear implant on a two month old, which is the youngest person in the WORLD to receive one! Isn’t that incredible that we have the best cochlear implant surgeon on planet earth seeing our baby?! Tears, y’all! God is so good!

We know that the road ahead isn’t necessarily an easy one, but I’m honestly looking forward to it. Of course I’m a tad overwhelmed when I think too far ahead, but this is one of those things we are definitely going to have to take day by day. I feel like God is gonna do something super cool here. I’m certain of that, actually. And not only in Dempsey, or in Price and me, but in Wilson and Lily Ryan! I get emotional thinking about their future roles as peer advocates for their baby brother. And what a special tenderness they will develop towards those who are just a little bit different! And what an appreciation they will learn for their own hearing. And how they will learn maybe earlier than most kids how important it is to be kind because you never really know the whole story. Wow. I could go on forever, baby!

Of course I can’t see into the future, but this is my prayer!

In summary, it is all gonna be good. A great big God with a great big plan is at work here. We are excited to get to be a part of that plan. We feel blessed beyond measure by every member of the medical teams looking after us, by every member of our families, and by every single friend and peer who has prayed for us. We absolutely could not ask for anything more right now! 🙂

I’ll share this verse again, as I think it is just so perfect for all this!

2 Corinthians 12:9

I’m leaving out a bunch of stuff, but I felt like this was getting a little lengthy 🙂 Happy to share more later if that is something that interests y’all. And I do plan to sporadically update y’all here with the latest! I’ll probably be better about that over on Insta, though. I’ve already started a highlight entitled Dempsey’s [ear emoji] 🙂

Thank y’all so much for reading today, and thank you even more for the prayers and love and support!! Massively thankful for every single person who reads this post 🙂 Lots and lots of love! XO!


  1. Kassy January 7, 2019 / 7:16 am

    Laurel, your strength is so inspiring! Baby D is the sweetest little thing and I can only imagine the incredible ways that God is planning to use his story to change the lives of those around him! I’m so excited to follow you guys on this journey! Praying for continued peace and hopefulness! X

    • Hathaway January 7, 2019 / 9:26 pm

      I love this ❤️ ! You know I am praying 🙏

  2. Fran January 7, 2019 / 7:29 am

    Love you Lars and continually praying for sweet Dempsey and your precious family!!! ❤️

  3. Ryann Donahoe January 7, 2019 / 7:35 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I have loved looking at all of your sweet pictures since he was born. You are such a strong mama! Dempsey and the rest of the family will be in our prayers!

  4. Cissy January 7, 2019 / 7:57 am

    Laurel, your constant faith is a blessing to me. It’s not the first time I’ve felt blessing and encouragement from your family. I believe every word of what you said about your precious Dempsey and his siblings. I pray God’s richest blessings on all of you.

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:15 am

      Thank you SO much Mrs. Carter! Very much appreciate the encouragement and prayers! We love your family!

  5. Brenda Kemp January 7, 2019 / 8:16 am

    Dempsey is so precious as are Wilson and Lilly Ryan!
    All of our children are different from each other but that is how God wanted them to be . He shows us everyday how special our Louis is. Dempsey is in our prayers every day and I know he is getting the best care as well as the most love a child could have . He will thrive with all that action around your house. Love you all and prayers.

  6. Julie January 7, 2019 / 8:44 am

    You are a joy to have as a friend. I, too, am very excited to see what our awesome God has planned for Dempsey! Much Love to you, Price and your littles!

  7. Mark and Anita January 7, 2019 / 10:18 am

    We love your growing family, its enthusiastic embrace of every challenge, and the sweet pictures!

  8. Kristie January 7, 2019 / 11:15 am

    Laurel. Thank you for sharing your story. As a mom with a special needs child(adult now), I totally understand the feeling of being excited to see what God will do. It sounds crazy but, this is and was God’s plan for us. Would we choose it?? Of course not but we can embrace it and watch God show out.
    You have a beautiful family and love to all of you! Give Price a BIG hug from me!!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:12 am

      You are so right! We can’t change it, so he’s embrace it! So excited to watch God show out 🙂 And Price loves big hugs from you!! XOXO!

  9. msks January 7, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. You are so loved!

  10. Lauren ludwig January 7, 2019 / 12:29 pm

    Praying for your sweet family and the road ahead!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:10 am

      Thank you Wad! Love keeping up with your cute fam on insta! Wish we got to see each other more often!

  11. Cindy valkanoff January 7, 2019 / 12:39 pm

    There is no doubt in my mind that God hand chose yall as the perfect family for Dempsey! The love , grace, support and amazing extended family that y’all have, has placed him in the very best family in the world! I cannot wait to see what amazing things happen!💖💖💖 ( ps… the biggest blessing on my life was growing up with a special needs brother, to this day, he is my world and has taught me more than anyone else in my life!💖)

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:10 am

      Thank you SO much!!! I love your words! Thanks for the hope, encouragement, and prayers 🙂 You are awesome and we miss y’all!

  12. Debbie C January 7, 2019 / 2:02 pm

    You are right on target about Lily Ryan and Wilson! Our son had to spend a year at Magnolia Speech School before he started school at McLeod. He has such a tender heart toward others who might speak or hear differently. Little Dempsey is already such a blessing! I’ll be praying as y’all grow up as a family learning to adjust and embrace a new normal.

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:09 am

      Thank you Mrs. Campbell! You always have the most comforting words 🙂 Excited to see what’s in store for us!

  13. Nicole Shows January 7, 2019 / 5:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Wow- your outlook is so awesome!!!God has BIG plans for Dempsey and each of you! I truly love and appreciate you seeing and sharing each sign of God!!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:08 am

      Aw thank you Mrs. Nicole!! So appreciate your sweet comment. We love y’all’s family!! <3

  14. Lori Gower January 7, 2019 / 7:42 pm

    Prayers for Dempsey, Price, you and your babies. God’s grace is sufficient. Thanks for sharing.

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:08 am

      Thank you so much, Lori! You are so right– God’s grace is more than sufficient!

  15. Alison January 7, 2019 / 8:34 pm

    Hi Laurel! I wanted to come catch up on this post when my husband mentioned it to me over our dinner conversation (he knows Price) and wanted to make sure we lift y’all up in prayer! We are praying for your sweet Dempsey and your family. My oldest daughter was born with a congenital heart defect (that we were unaware of prior to birth) that required open heart surgery at 6 days old so I know the sudden shock you are experiencing – especially being postpartum. She is now almost 3 and thriving! We go yearly to her cardiologist for a (hopeful) release for the next year. Batson was our saving grace and we will forever be indebt to the medical team that cared for our daughter. How wonderful that we have such awesome care right here in Jackson?! I have no doubt your sweet Dempsey will be in the best hands at Childrens. And how blessed he is to have such a wonderful family by his side! 🙂

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:07 am

      Hey Alison! Wow, I cannot imagine surgery on a six day old!! I am SO glad she’s doing well! Yes, praise the Lord for such a wonderful children’s hospital right here in Jackson. We could not feel more blessed. Thanks so much for the love and prayers!! XO!

  16. Vickie Farlow January 7, 2019 / 8:37 pm

    Thank you for update on Dempsey and for sharing what’s in your heart. You have such a strong faith! Praying for you all. Life doesn’t always go by our plan, but it ALWAYS goes by God’s plan. He’s got this!

    • Laurel at THE HIVE January 14, 2019 / 10:05 am

      You are so right, Mrs. Vickie!! Thank you for the prayers and encouragement! We love the Farlows!!

  17. Kim Chancellor January 7, 2019 / 9:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Praying for you and your family! It’s so wonderful that you found out about the hearing loss so early so that you can help Dempsey from the very beginning! God will guide you through all the decisions to be made. Your A Great Mom!
    I Love All The Pictures!

  18. Laura Lamar January 9, 2019 / 6:39 pm

    You’re amazing ❤️

  19. Allen Cunningham January 14, 2019 / 11:07 am

    Laurel, interestingly enough before I read all of your story The word thrive popped in my mind . Then you used it too. I am sure this precious child will thrive in life. He has great genes and fabulous parents who will encourage him on this journey. I want to watch this journey. With love and prayers, Allen

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