When we first found out our baby would have a cleft, I had no idea what we were in for. I stayed pretty calm about it but what I really wanted to know was when the cleft could be fixed. Surely, they could just whisk him away after he was born and fix it right then right? We quickly found out that no- that wasn’t the case. It wouldn’t be a quick fix and there would be a lot to learn. We have been so fortunate with our cleft team of doctors and nurses and with their help we made it through. It wasn’t easy and it felt like a very slow process, but after 10 weeks of the NAM and then a lip adhesion surgery, we were ready for the full cleft lip repair surgery. Today I’m sharing that process and next week I’ll share about our palate repair surgery.

Our doctor waited until six months to schedule our full lip repair surgery. That gave Rush time to expand his palate and close his cleft as much as possible with the NAM. He also got bigger, put on some weight and was more physically ready for the surgery. After our lip adhesion surgery had failed (it came apart), I was nervous about this surgery. But I also felt a little more comfortable because we had been through the surgery process before.
The night before the surgery I made sure to take some before photos. I wanted to have a good photo of his cleft before they fixed his lip and I’m so glad I did. We were able to replicate the same photo after surgery and it’s so cool to see them together. As you can see, he was so cute and happy before the surgery and I just did my best not to worry.
Our hospital scheduled Rush as the first surgery of the day so that he didn’t have to go any longer then was needed without food. We were instructed to stop food and milk at a certain point and after that I just gave him Pedialyte until our appointment time. He really did well and didn’t seem to mind getting a little bit hungry because there were so many interesting things to look at throughout the hospital.
As far as packing goes- I knew I might be at the hospital for a day or two, so I packed my overnight bag and extra clothes for Rush to go home in. I took formula and bottles with us and I’m so glad I did. They had premixed formula at the hospital, but Rush did not like it. He preferred what he was used to from home when he started to eat again. The hospital rooms that we have been in have always had fridges so it’s possible to bring breast milk too. (I stopped pumping at 6 weeks, so we were only on formula.)

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