So upon leaving the hospital for what seemed like hours talking about care plans, surgery, treatment, scans and much much more. I felt so drained and tired, tired of listening to professionals telling me what the next step would be, how my baby will look and asking if I was OK. I wasn’t OK as I mentioned every woman dreams of having the perfect baby, me I felt like I was mourning the perfect baby and learning to deal with my baby looking different, people staring and commenting and they did but I will say more on this later in the blogs. The drive home was long and slow as I made the telephone calls to our family and friends, we explained what was going on and how she may look with everyone on strict instructions to NOT Google ‘Cleft Lip and Palate’.
Jason was off on a stag weekend he didn’t want to go and his brother and friends said they would understand but I told him to go as there wasn’t much he could do we would only be making each other miserable and upset. All I could see as I held on tight to my tummy the little 5-year-old girl after her cleft had been fixed she had the most beautiful eyes and looked so happy, I wondered what my baby would look like and questions were flying around and around my head. Why me, what did I do – I know I done nothing everything was by the book when I fell pregnant but I still didn’t understand. People would say to me its OK it can be fixed, you will be fine and don’t worry! That one always ‘pissed’ me off, no one knew how I felt and no one understood my tears.
As the weeks rolled on we were being scanned one a month and very lucky to have 4d scans, yes it was only to see the extent of the cleft but still we got to see our baby up close and personal.
What is a cleft I hear you ask?
A cleft is a congenital birth defect. There may be a cleft (split) just of the lip, just of the palate, or both. They can be one-sided (unilateral) or double-sided (bilateral).
How does this happen?
In the womb, the upper lip develops from three parts and the palate develops in two halves, which then join in the middle. Clefts happen when they fail to join normally.
The process of joining of the gum and lip begins behind the gum at about 6 weeks after conception. If it does not happen, there is a complete cleft of the lip and gum. Sometimes, if the process of joining begins and is not completed, the gum may not be affected.
The two halves of the palate join at about 8 weeks and this process, too, may be partial or complete so that clefts may just involve the soft palate or the hard and soft palate.
How frequently does it happen?
We know that in the UK one in 700 babies are born with a cleft. The figure is higher in Asia and particularly so in people from the Far East. It is estimated that 250,000 babies throughout the world are born each year with a cleft.
Keep following for more upates on our journey.