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Jude’s Smile

Jude's Smile

Our son Jude was born July 1, 2009 through cesarean with a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate. All I remember is hearing the word”Cleft” and lying there helpless and scared. I had heard of clefts before but never put any REAL thought into what they were or that it would ever happen to my child. Still, when I saw Jude for the first time he was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. He was beautiful. Soon after delivery it was one doctor after another telling us so many different things about surgery, speech therapy, dental work, options,treatment plans, insurance, ect. Trying to take it all in so quickly was very overwhelming. Finally, Dr. Gallant (Pediatric plastic surgery specialist) walked in with his brown medical bag and his team. He looked at me and said, “We should have had this talk months ago”. He and his team assured us that the cleft was fixable and he promised to take care of Jude. He said to me “Do you know why I get to carry this medical bag around? It’s because I’m a REAL doctor”. I finally just broke down and cried. I knew that Dr. Gallant was going to save our son. Taking Jude home from the hospital had many challenges that we were not prepared for. Feeding him was one of them. We had to use a special tool called a breck feeder (a syringe with a tube attached) for the first few months until he became accustomed to his cleft palate nurser (a soft squeezable bottle). Even though eating was painful and he had no suction to soothe himself, Jude always has had a wonderful disposition through out everything. He literally smiled from ear to ear all the time with a beautiful double smile. He had his first surgery November 11th, 2009 at All Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gallant did his lip and nose repair. Even though it was just step 1, looking at Jude in the recovery room was an incredible moment. He was bruised and stitched up and still trying to smile. We could see it in his eyes. His happiness was a beam of light. It was bittersweet for us because we loved him the way he was, but it was necessary to have this surgery. It was amazing to watch him recover and explore his new lip. He discovered the new sounds he could make and eating was far less painful. When it was time to get the stitches removed, Jude smiled and laughed through the entire process. Not once did he cry. We took him home and he continued to shine and grow. Jude was eating from a spoon and hitting his milestones just like any other child would, except he did it all with a smile on his face ALL the time. He simply radiated happiness. Before his next surgery Jude failed his hearing testsand there was a chance that he might be hearing impaired. This was just another scary obstacle to overcome. Jude had his second surgery to build his palate and receive tubes in his ears July 7th, 2010. This surgery was far more invasivethan the last with a longer recovery time. Eating was so painful that he even had a bad attachment to his bottle for a little while. Even though the pain was far greater than the last surgery, we could still see the smile in his eyes and the love that surrounded him. We could tell right off the bat that his hearing had improved leaps and bounds. Dr. Gallant was not able to close the palate completely so he is scheduled for another surgery to complete his palate and have his lip and nose revision January 12th, 2011. Right now Jude is thriving in every way possible. He enjoys playing with his Kitty, Autumn. He makes sounds and says about 15 words, and he is starting on small sentences. Everyone he sees gets a wave, BIG smile, blown kisses and a “Hi!” He loves to play the piano and drums. He dances to everything, even the weather channel music! He’s active and bright. He’s our sunshine and our miracle. We are looking forward to watching him grow and transform. Even though Jude is only a year and a half, he’s had to overcome so many obstacles and that has made him strong and brave. He greets each day with a smile and he inspires those around him in so many
ways.

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Site last updated December 5, 2016 @ 3:07 pm; This content last updated June 3, 2011 @ 6:39 pm