I remember the phone call from the doctor like it was yesterday. I was pregnant with my second child and had just undergone a routine 20 week ultra sound. We didn’t want to find out the sex. I was leaving work and decided to pick up the phone. It was then that the doctor said they found a cleft. I was so shocked. I managed to make it through the phone call and then immediately broke down. Nobody wants to hear that something is wrong with t heir child. I began questioning myself. What did I do to cause this. I called my husband on the way home, hysterical. He actually took the news quite well and felt that based on my reaction he had assumed much worse was wrong. I then called my mom and sister who also both assured me that everything would be ok. I felt horrible. I had to share this news with everyone. For some reason I was so worried about what everyone would think. Everyone had the same reaction—That everything would be fine. But that made me mad too because this was my world. My baby was going to have something wrong. I then began my marathon of research. I literally looked at thousands of pictures of babies with clefts. I looked at every possibility, I wanted to be prepared. I filled my mind until I could fit no more into my brain.
The palate surgery came in January 2006. He was a bit older and this made things a little bit more difficult because the surgery was more painful then the first. We remained in the hospital for one night.
Since his birth Isaac has had at least 7 or 8 ear infections a year. He is currently on his 4th set of ear tubes. This year at 5 years old he just had his tonsils removed for speech purposes. I swear this boy is superman. He didn’t complain once about the pain. He has been in speech since about 18 months old. He does get frustrated when he isn’t understood but for the most part can speak well. We will see if he needs to have a flap to help him block off his nasal cavity when talking. The alveolar ridge surgery should be within the next year to year in a half.
In the past six months I have become aware of two other women in my extended circle of friends that have had cleft children. I am so happy that I have made these connections and look forward to the relationships we can build from this shared experience.