August 21, 2007

May - June 2007

Over the last 10 weeks of our pregnancy we heavily educated ourselves. We were scared to death with what we witnessed off the internet. Nobody had given us any idea of what to expect. The first time I typed in "cleft lip/palate" my husband and I just took turns crying the rest of the night. These are some examples:

First, your child will NOT end up looking like these children after surgery. In fact, the majority of all cases are finished by 18 months. Other than maybe a few crooked teeth, their outlook will be nothing like this. I'm not a doctor and I can't guarantee your final result, but from what I've found nobody ever goes past 3-4 yrs. old without almost everything being completely repaired.

After reading articles and speaking with families familiar with this issue we started to realize that it wasn't going to be the end of the world and that every part about it, no matter how extreme, was repairable. It didn't mean the next year would be stress free, but it was reassuring knowing that there was a "light at the end of the tunnel".
In May a friend of ours found at Children's Hospital in Boston, MA. We had been looking around at different hospitals not really knowing what was good and what we should stay away from. I contacted this hospital and within 12 hours I had talked to both surgeons. After speaking with them we knew it's who we wanted to use. It's like the Lord just flew up the doors to these people. Dr. John Mulliken is one of the surgeons. He regularly answered our e-mails and phone calls. I think this was one of the most impressive points about CHB because we hadn't yet given them a dime of our money. It was easy to see that Dr. Mulliken was passionate about his work and his joy came from changing the lives of children.
We sent the hospital our 2d & 3d ultrasounds and they discussed the possible degrees of cleft we could be facing. They suggested getting a fetal MRI to find out about the palate. By this time I was around 34 weeks pregnant and didn't feel comfortable flying up to Boston to have it done. We would have to wait until birth to get an answer. However, I highly suggest doing this. Even though finding out doesn't change anything, it gives you a head start on what to expect. Make sure you find a place that has experience doing this. It's not a popular procedure and only a handful of hospitals do it. All I know of are Boston and Vanderbilt.
But if you are unable don't stress about it. We decided it would be best for us to just prepare for the worst. Then aren't any surprises!!

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