Matthew seems to be back to his old antics today, and although it seems like he’s dealing with a little bit of pain in his mouth, he’s mostly just his same good-natured self. We are grateful.
Surgery yesterday went just fine. It was a long day that included a lot of waiting (we were called back about an hour later than we expected) and a few surprises, some of them good. Instead of extracting two teeth, the pediatric orthodontist only pulled one. We also got a really specific evaluation of his mouth and teeth, and although his mouth is a little “unusual,” in the words of Dr. Sheller (which is pretty normal for kids with clefting issues), it’s also very workable, for which we are grateful.
The best news for me is that barring any other necessary plastic surgery procedures in the next couple years, once Matthew’s palate is repaired, the next surgery won’t be until he’s between 7 and 9 years old. That means we have a good five years until we again have to take our boy to Children’s for an operation.
One of the favorite parts of my day yesterday had to be all the conversations I had with other parents of children with clefts. I spoke with a woman whose daughter is from the same province in China that Matthew was born (Guangdong)—the daughter has had all her cleft work done at Children’s, and she’s about 9 years old now. She looked terrific. I also talked with a family whose 14-month-old birth son was going in for palate repair.
With all these parents, there is a sense of connection and community that I feel so thankful for. In some life’s adventures (like adoption or cleft lip/palate repair), I have the tendency to feel a little bit lonely or isolated in our specific journey. Talking with parents who understand the layers of attachment and surgery encourages me in ways I can’t describe.
We’re tired on this Halloween afternoon. Maya and Sam will soon dress up and go to a neighborhood friend’s party, then we’ll spend the evening with our family friends the Petersens (and their extended family and friends), which is our usual hangout on Halloween night. It will be very low key, which is perfect for us. I’m anxious for some rest—for Matthew, for me, and for the rest of the family. Even the most simple, straightforward surgery takes its toll on everyone. We are so thankful for the extra love and support from my parents yesterday—my dad, who was my companion at the hospital, and my mom, who took care of Sam and Maya while we were away.
Here are a couple pictures to share with you—one of Matthew in my arms, asleep, just before I carried him into the operating room. He actually slept through the anesthesia mask, which meant his start to surgery was blissful!
And below that are a couple of shots from today. It’s so nice to report that all is well, we’re on the other side of surgery, and healing abounds!
|Just before walking Matthew into the operating room|
|Playing at home this morning|
|A bruised mouth|
|He looks so innocent in this shot . . . but don't be fooled!|