A Shining Star

Alyssa KirkmanFamily Stories, Newborn-Infant, School-Aged Child, Teen

When we discovered we were expecting our second child, little did I know that we were in for a roller coaster of a journey.

It was a difficult pregnancy to begin with, as I suffered from severe hyperemesis gravadarum. I also had many bleeding scares, and having had a miscarriage before my then 2 year old was born, the fears were most definitely heightened.

It was during one of many ultrasounds done that we found out we were having a girl. I was 19 weeks along. That very same ultrasound showed that our little one has a cleft lip and palate. Truth be told, I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. I cried. I cried some more, but slowly we began to gather information about our sweet daughter’s condition and met with her future cleft team when I was 8 months along.

The fear turned into fierce love and protection while she was still in utero. I couldn’t wait to meet my daughter.

Vilija made her way into the world on June 13th, 2002, with a wide unilateral cleft lip and palate. We saw past the cleft. We saw a precious baby who had been kissed by an angel. She was absolutely beautiful, and her surgeon, Dr. Costello, just enhanced that beauty. has undergone a total of 10 surgeries, and last year we found out that she isn’t in need of anymore.

My soon to be 16 year old daughter has never shown any bitterness over being born with a cleft or needing so many surgeries. She’s never ever had any problems with self esteem nor self confidence. Vilija is proud of who she is and what she’s endured. My beautiful girl is a high school sophomore dance major at a performing arts school. Last week she was inducted into both the National Honors Society as well as the National Honors Society for Dance Arts.

She truly has been a shining star throughout her cleft lip and palate journey, both on stage and off!