Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby update: 28 Weeks and some unexpected news



We’ve had a tough 3 weeks which is why I haven’t posted a baby update in a while.  We had a 3rd follow-up ultrasound on December 13th which was basically our last chance to see baby girl’s face.  In our previous ultrasound appointments our tech was able to take Gracie’s measurements and check her organs, brain development and heartbeat, all of which looked perfect.  While we were able to learn a great deal about how Grace was doing in these appointments, our little one just didn’t want to show us her face.  Our doc allowed us to have one final ultrasound in hopes of catching a glimpse of Gracie’s face and more specifically her mouth area to check for a cleft lip.  Well, in this last appointment our beautiful girl decided to cooperate. 

We had a different tech in this appointment which was a relief because she took much more time with us and the whole experience felt less rushed.  Grace still had her little arms up but this time they were spread apart just enough for us to see her mouth.  Georgia was laying flat on her back so she couldn’t really see anything but I noticed a little something right away.  There seemed to be a small dark area on Gracie’s top lip on the left side.  I could tell that our tech noticed something as well but she didn’t say anything at first.  Georgia still didn’t know that anything was going on but as the tech continued to work my heart began to sink and my eyes filled with tears.  The technician spent about 10 more minutes taking pictures of baby’s face from all different angles.  When she was done I told her that I had noticed something and asked if it was a cleft lip.  She said that she too noticed something “abnormal” but that she would need to show the pictures to a doctor before confirming anything.  She then left the room.

Its times like these that I’m thankful that I married someone as calm natured and level headed as Georgia.  While my thoughts went to the worst possible scenario, she remained calm for the two of us.  After what felt like a million years our technician returned with a doctor that we had never met before.  The doctor proceeded to tell us that she was pretty certain that Gracie had a cleft lip and that we would need to see a Perinatologist.  This news was heartbreaking to hear and left us both speechless.  The doctor continued to tell us more about what the next steps would be but I honestly don’t remember much about that conversation.  I think we were both confused and just too upset to take in information.  Thankfully we were able to get an appointment with a Perinatologist that Thursday which was such a blessing because we didn’t get much sleep those few days following the ultrasound.

In the perinatal appointment we were in a larger room with what was clearly much more advanced machinery.  Our technician was AMAZING.  I honestly believe that God had something to do with her being the one to help us on that day.  She was just so friendly and loving that it made the experience a little less difficult.  Over the next several hours we met with a medical counselor, two specialized ultrasound technicians, the Perinatologist and his physician’s assistant.  The team did confirm that Gracie has what is called a unilateral cleft lip.  This means that during early development the two sides of her lip that should have connected didn’t quite meet.  We still do not know if she has a complete or incomplete cleft lip, meaning does the opening go mid-way up the lip or all the way into the nostril.  They are also unsure as to whether she has a cleft lip and a cleft palate, or if it’s just the lip.  These are things that we will hopefully find out in future visits. 



While it was devastating to learn that our little baby will now have to undergo several surgeries in her first year, it was a relief to confirm that she only has the one cleft and that it’s not bilateral.  We are also still holding onto the hope that she doesn’t have a cleft palate in addition to the lip.  There is much that is still unknown and I would be lying if I said that we left the office that evening feeling ok.  We were both very upset and angry.  Georgia and I cried and talked the entire drive home and decided that we would allow ourselves one evening to be sad – so that’s what we did.  We cried, we cursed, we felt sorry for ourselves and envious of our friends who have been blessed with seamless pregnancies.  I think that this is something that we needed to do and I’m glad that we allowed ourselves some time to grieve. 

Since that night we’ve grown stronger and more positive.  We have reached out to our families and have found comfort in our friends.  We have thanked God that our daughter is strong and healthy and we’ve enjoyed looking at the pictures that were taken on that day of our beautiful baby girl.  I know that we still have a ways to go and that it’s not always going to be easy.  I also know that we have been through worse and that together we can get through anything.

Here are a few pictures of our little lady ~


She is sticking her tongue out at us in this one :)


What a stinker – always covering her little face!


I thought that she was flippin us the bird when I first looked at this one… he, he! 
I’m pretty sure it’s her pointer finger ;)


When they adjusted the angle of this 2D pic it distorted her cheek a bit.  This is one of my favorites because you can clearly see her beautiful little face.

6 comments:

  1. Hugs! She is beautiful!

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  2. Love the last pic the most :) Stick in there sister, love you.

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  3. She was covering her face because seh didn't want you to worry. Such precious pictures!

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  4. C, that is exactly what I thought when we finally caught a glimpse of her little face. I wish I wasn’t such a worrier but I am and I know that I would have spent those first 3 months driving myself up the wall. The older I get the more I believe that everything happens for a reason and that the Lord definitely works in mysterious ways.

    Thank you for the kind words friends :)

    ~ K

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  5. Hi There!
    I just found your blog linked from another that I follow. I am a pediatric speech pathologist and my specialty is cleft lip/palate and craniofacial anomalies. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that if you ever have any cleft questions, feel free to contact me!! What a gorgeous girl that Gracie is!

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  6. Hi Alison,
    I'm so glad that you came across our blog and thank you so much for offering your support! We often have questions regarding Gracie's lip so I will certainly take you up on your offer. I look forward to visiting your blog!

    Thanks, Kristin

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Thanks so much for keeping up with our little family! We love reading your comments and will get back to you as soon as we can.

K+G+g+w ♥

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