Rachael’s daughter Anya was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Rachael reflects on their journey over the past year from diagnosis to lip repair surgery.
This Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week will mark one year since we found out about Anya’s cleft, and what a year it has been! We were at our 20-week scan, watching our baby wiggle when the words no one wants to hear were said, “we have found a problem.”
Four days later, the specialists diagnosed our baby with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and our happy bubble was well and truly popped. Our cleft team quickly contacted us, who supported us fully, shared stories, and made us feel that everything would be OK.
Our cleft team quickly contacted us, who supported us fully, shared stories, and made us feel that everything would be OK.
Around this time, my growing bump became more obvious, and we had to start telling people our story. I found this very hard, but I was met with nothing but love and support. The remainder of my pregnancy was filled with worry and tinged with sadness for all the things that would be different for us. I focused so much on her cleft, that I forgot to think about her as a baby.
Fast forward to now, and we are three months post lip surgery, and she is doing well! Yes, there have been some really hard bits, surgery was a real challenge for us, and her subsequent weight loss has been a struggle, but the good bits have been amazing.
Yes, Anya has a cleft, a slightly squished nose, and some scars, but she also has the brightest, most beautiful eyes and a smile that lights up her whole face. Her giggle makes my heart soar, and she gives the nicest cuddles you could ever imagine. She has filled our lives with so much joy and is totally loved by everyone she comes across.
It is time to stop thinking of the things that aren’t ‘perfect’ and focus on all the wonderful things she is.
Thank you to Rachael for sharing your story!
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