I hope you guys are having an awesome summer and enjoy these beautiful summer days with your little ones. Did you know that July is National Cleft Awareness and Prevention Month? That’s right! This month is all about giving back to our little cleft warriors who were born with cleft lips and/or palates and the precious children who do not have the resources to receive safe and affordable cleft lip and palate surgeries. My heroic little guy, Noah, was unfortunately born with a cleft palate. Although, we have faced a number of challenges in terms of Noah’s speech, feeding, breathing and other developmental milestones, we were grateful enough to have Noah’s cleft palate repaired when he turned 1 years old. Without this, Baby Noah would have experienced even more medical challenges and could have tragically passed away. Which is one of the biggest reasons why I am a proud supporter of Operation Smile and am passionately working to spread as much awareness as I can for children born with cleft lips and palates.
In case you may mot know what a cleft lip or palate is, I have highlighted more information from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) below to give you a glimpse of just how serious this is for children:
What is a cleft lip?
What is a cleft palate?
What It Feels Like to Have a Baby with a Cleft Lip and/or Palate?
I remember this moment so vividly and it still feels like yesterday. Noah was born on Friday, December 12, 2014 at Northwestern Hospital. Outside of Congratulating me on the birth of my new baby, the first thing the doctor said when Noah was born was that he had a cleft palate. Me not having the slightest clue what that meant, I was confused and slightly disappointed but I didn’t allow that to ruin all of the excitement that I felt and adoration that I had for my prince. It wasn’t until later that evening that I learned more about what exactly it meant to have a cleft palate and the special feeding instructions that I would have to carefully follow in order to nourish and feed my baby.
Finally, after a month of using the NG Tube and Noah constantly pulling it out, the doctors recommend that Noah have a G-tube placed in his stoma so that he could have a more permanent solution for feeding and development. You see, when you have a baby with a cleft lip or palate, you have to constantly adjust to their needs and continue to try things to see what works and what doesn’t. Its a long process, but you must have patience and stay as strong as possible for your baby. Because after all, regardless of the circumstance, they’re counting on you to be their hero! Despite all of our challenges with Noah’s feeding therapy, slow weight gain, breathing and aspiration setbacks, and Noah’s host of other medical issues (which we’ll talk about next time), Noah was finally able to have his cleft palate repaired when he was 12 months old. We were so grateful for the success of Noah’s cleft palate surgery and fortunately everything worked out perfectly and Noah was sent home the next day.