Baby K

Alyssa KirkmanCommunity Stories, Family Stories

I was 41 yrs old when I was pregnant with my third child, Kiele. I could still vividly remember the day that I had an ultrasound and how excited my husband and I were to have learned that we were expecting a baby girl, yet how devastated we were to know that she has cleft lip and palate. The day that she was born, we were told that she needed to be sent to a different hospital because the nurses were not comfortable nor trained to take care of a newborn with a cleft lip and palate, and that they would have to place a nasogastric tube temporarily to feed her! I thought that it was poor planning on my Ob/Gyn’s part for me to have delivered in that hospital that they were based at. Looking back, I partly blamed myself and thought that I should have been my own advocate and should have checked to make sure that the staff were capable of taking care of our baby girl.

I wish I met another Mom of a baby born with a cleft lip and palate, someone whom I could have confided to and perhaps could have answered my questions and needs …

I wish I had the courage to prepare myself for all the surgeries that my baby girl had to go through her first year of life …

I wish I had the resources and the education to get me through those tough times…

I wish …

Our Baby K, as we fondly call her, just turned 3 years of age in January. It is such a joy to watch her grow, and now she cannot stop talking. Her words are very clear and she is a picture of a normal, active toddler. We just found out that her teeth are mal-aligned and might need to be corrected. We will need to see her orthodontist again to see what they can do for her. The road ahead may not be that easy for us, but I believe that we will be able to conquer whatever comes our way–our love for this kid will always carry her through the toughest times in her life.

I am advocating for more support groups and more education to better prepare the parents who are expecting a child with cleft lip and cleft palate.