|Slim, left, and Joey, one of their first weeks home from the NICU.|
Slim's red cheek is from the tape holding the NG tube. The knob you
see above his mouth is actually the ridge where his teeth should come in.
Medical tests and doctor's appointments began almost immediately. First was genetic testing. Neither of us has relatives with the condition. My doctor surmised that Slim's clefting probably happened as a result of the "twinning" process, but this made no sense to me. As a cleft is decided before ten weeks gestation, when the fetuses were small, I wasn't sure how that could have happened. Plus, we did fertility treatments. This was the first time the thought that God was punishing us for that entered my mind.
Thankfully, the geneticist found no signs of any kind of syndrome in Slim. Many children's clefts are part of a larger syndrome or a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease. In other words, it looked as though it was an isolated condition.
So Hubby worked on getting the best doctors he knew and had worked with to begin seeing Slim. First up was a doctor who would fit Slim with dental appliances to rotate the part of his alveolar ridge (the "knob" under his nose where his teeth should grow in) back and up into his mouth to ready him for his initial lip repair. These appliances were basically plastic retainers, five of them in all, and I lived in fear that my baby would choke on each one as he slept.
When he began to smile at around 6 weeks, I fell in love with him all over again, and understood the meaning of the "wide smile" that many parents on the support sites said they missed once the repair was complete.
|You can not only see his gorgeous blue eyes here, but his darling wide|
smile. If you look really closely, you can see the plastic appliance.
|The thing on his nose is a bolster dressing used to control bleeding.|
While we were in New York, Slim was also diagnosed with torticollis and low muscle tone, so he received physical therapy twice a week in addition to the twice weekly visits from the speech and feeding therapist.
|Slim still learning how to walk at 17 months.|
But he continued to grow and delight us with his quiet ways, his gorgeous smile, and his sometimes quirky behavior.