We were so extremely excited to find out we were pregnant with our second baby. At 16 weeks pregnant I had my quad screening blood test and got a call from my doctor shortly after saying that my baby had a higher risk of being born with Down Syndrome so she sent me to have a level 2 ultrasound at 20 weeks. We went to the ultrasound and were so excited to find out we were having a boy but they were unable to see the baby’s spine and mouth well enough so they scheduled us for another appointment a week later. We went back to our next appointment and they were finally able to take the measurement of his spine but still could not see his mouth because he always had his hands in front of his face. We got a call back from our doctor a few days later and were told that our baby boy showed no signs of Down Syndrome so no further testing was needed. We were so relieved but I still had this feeling that something was not right but had no idea what and decided to just forget about it. At 39 weeks exactly I went into labor at 2am. Called my doctor at 8am and she told me to come into her office to check to see what’s going on. I went in and I was 4 centimeters. She sent me over to the hospital and hooked me up to the monitors to make sure I was in active labor. Since my contractions still were not consistent she sent me home. A few hours later I was back at the hospital to check in and I was 6 centimeters and was ready for my epidural. My husband and I were talking while we were waiting and both said we had a feeling something was different with our son but we just didn’t know what it was. A few hours later it was time to push. The nurse assisted me with 2 big pushes and then called the nurses station to tell the Doctor to come right away because my baby was coming fast. As soon as my doctor walked in the door and looked over at me she saw my son was delivering himself. She ran over and literally caught him from hitting the floor. She didn’t have time to even put on her gown. And that’s when our world changed completely. She laid my son on my chest and to my surprise he had a cleft lip. I had no idea what was going on. I wasn’t expecting this at all. My doctor was even surprised that they hadn’t detected it in the 2 separate ultrasounds.
My husband and I were in complete shock. We had no idea how bad it was or what his future would be. Suddenly I had millions of questions. The nurses looked him over and determined his palate was not affected. Then the pediatrician came and looked him over and confirmed that he just had the cleft lip and that it was so minor we had nothing to worry about. It was a huge relief. I was still able to nurse my baby and I was thrilled. After that the cleft was a distant memory. He was so beautiful and I loved him no matter what. Even though it was a huge surprise to have found out about his cleft the day he was born, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I can’t imagine all the worry and stress it would have caused me if I had found out at my 20 week ultrasound. Austin had his lip surgery at 5 months old and won’t need to have revision surgery until he’s 3-5 years old. His speech is on target, he has all of his baby teeth growing in where they’re supposed to and we couldn’t be more happy. He is definitely my pride and joy.
Erin Walters Coghlan