Mike and I delivered a son into the world on Sunday evening. 11/20/2011 at 7:49 pm. The delivery was very quick and we had no complications. Despite being delivered at 37 weeks, our little boy was a very healthy 7 lbs. 4 oz, and he was 19.5 inches long.
We named him Maverick - for several reasons - but the main one is that we wanted him to grow up to have an independent spirit.
Happily, Maverick began to defy expectations from the moment he entered the world. He wouldn't cry at all. At first, I was unnerved by this - I thought babies were supposed to cry and everyone would see how well their lungs worked! But not Maverick. He quietly entered the world, and only whimpered a little as the nurse team assessed him. Despite my fears, Maverick was breathing very well on his own - his lungs were very clear, and he didn't need a breathing tube!
It was also determined during his assessment that we had complete bilateral cleft lip and complete bilateral cleft palate. The lip was very obvious - it's basically in 3 pieces, and he has the "gumdrop" at the tip of his nose. (his gum and the middle section of his upper lip are attached to the tip of his nose). The soft and hard palates are cleft on both sides, from front to back, so his sinus cavities are open to his lower jaw.
Fortunately, however, Maverick has his nasal bone intact. Because of this, he was actually able to feed from a Cleft Palate nursing bottle with some great success! And to our immense relief, he ate and ate and ate! Because he proved he could do this right away, the doctors saw no reason to place him on a feeding tube. No NICU for us!!
Maverick continued to surprise us as we moved to post partum. He was quiet, calm, and ate without any issues. His vitals were always perfect and his skin is beautifully rosy. He quickly gained a fan club of nurses that came to check on him even if he wasn't on their round. I have to admit that those chubby cheeks are irresistable!
We were also visited by Mary Breen of the Dell Cleft Team. She did her own assessment of Maverick's clefting, and showed us a very similar example from a previous Dell cleft patient. The results were dramatic, and she said that we could probably expect similar results. Once again, Mike and I were very pleased to know that we were in capable hands.
We will visit Mary and our orthodontic surgeon on Tuesday for a consult and to get an impression of Maverick's mouth. This impression will be used to create Maverick's custom NAM device (a retainer-like device that will help bring the interior portions of the palate clefts together, and push out Maverick's nose into a more favorable position for a surgery in a few months.) We'll also get "taped" at this visit, which is just the beginning of Maverick's nasal and lip reconstruction.
We're very excited about this visit - it's just the first step in Maverick's cleft journey.