10/10/08

She walks in beauty


For those who don't yet know, our daughter is going in for her first cleft surgery early on Tuesday morning.

I am definitely starting to get nervous. Looking at her huge smile, how happy and comfortable and thoroughly at ease she is these days, how vigorous and thriving, it hurts me to think of cutting her up, weakening her, causing her pain...even if it is only temporary. She is so perfect as she is, so utterly beautiful, I can't imagine anything making her more perfect. She will come out of surgery looking like a different person, and that makes me sad.

But this is something she needs, something for which we have been preparing since first getting her referral.
Just to give you an idea of what will be happening to her on Tuesday, she will be having her initial palate closure as well as her initial lip adhesion. I lip adhesion is the first stage of a two-stage cleft lip surgery. It's a newer technique, and the one that our surgeon deemed best for Flynn's wide cleft. Because she is a year old, the muscles of her upper lip have grown accustomed to being in the position they are in now. When they're drawn together, the upper lip will be very stiff. It will be difficult for her to move and stretch her mouth. There will also be a higher chance of her splitting the lip while it's healing. For this reason, the surgeon will be doing a rough, rudimentary lip closure during the first surgery, allowing the lip time to loosen up and become accustomed to its new position before going in for the second, cosmetic surgery. The second surgery will take place about six months from now, and the surgeon will then go in and do a refined cosmetic job, removing the scarring of the first surgery and perfecting the "cupid's bow" of the lip. She tells us that the first surgery will look "like a bad cleft lip surgery". I've seen many examples of her work, and she really does an amazing cosmetic job, so I have no doubt that the ultimate result will be lovely.
As for the palate, that's the really rough part. Flynn has a very wide internal cleft, running all the way through from the gumline to the back of the palate. It will take some doing to close it, and she runs a good chance of having "fistulas" open in the roof of the mouth after the surgery. During the second surgery in six months, the surgeon will go in again and close up any fistulas that have re-opened since the first surgery.
During this initial surgery, she will have ear tubes put in to allow her ears to drain and open, which will give her better hearing (she is on the low end of normal, and so far has been lucky enough not to have the ear infections that are so common in children with clefts).
She will be in surgery for about three hours, and in the hospital for at least two days. She will be able to come home with us when she is willing to drink liquids on her own. Until then, we will be staying in the hospital with her. Total recovery time from the surgery is about three weeks, but she will be feeling better after the first few days.

23 comments:

3D said...

She is just the sweetest!

I will be thinking of you all on Tuesday. Keep us updated.

Hugs!

Keep smilin!

Naenay1012 said...

Best of luck. Our son Carter had his palate surgery in March 2007 at age 4. He is now 5.5 and his speech is improving more and more everyday.
I will be thinking of you all.
Heather

tiffany said...

I hope things go well on Tuesday and I think many beautiful balloons will be in order for her recovery.

Lost and Found said...

Will definitely keep her and you and Mike in my prayers. I can't imagine her being any cuter than she already is.

Vivian M said...

You are all so brave. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers and pray for a speedy recovery. Huge hugs for the three of you!

mama d said...

She's an eternal beauty with a strong set of parents. Our thoughts are with you all!

Yoli said...

She has an amazing spirit, she will surprise everyone. She will be just fine. We send you and Mike good thoughts.

A Beautiful Mess said...

I totally understand. I have been there....I'm not going to lie to you it will be a hard day for you, Mike and Flynn....But your daughter will amaze you with her strength. ( I felt like such a wimp compared to Sophie. Soph had her first surgery about a month and a half after we got home.)

Remember to sing to her, she will find comfort in your voice.

Sending you good thoughts and prayers

Cindy said...

Thanks for letting us know about Tuesday's surgery for little Flynn, I think the surgeries are often harder on mommy than the child. If you need to chat or have questions please contact me as we've been thru this type of surgery many times. My prayers and thoughts for a quick recovery!

Please keep us posted when possible, will be thinking of you all and please know what an amazing mommy you are! Enjoy the extra bonding time...and hugs!

sue williams said...

I understand how you feel about the perfect beauty of your daughter, and yet the necessity to do the surgery. I wish you and Flynn the best on Tuesday and hope the recovery is speedy and smooth. Love and hugs to you both!

sue, arlie and jia

Lisa and Tate said...

She is truly beautiful. It must be hard as her momma know she will be uncomfortable and in pain. Thoughts will be with you all on Tuesday.

Lisa

Tish said...

i love that poem!

will be thinking of you as you prepare for her surgery...i know your heart is sad.

Blessed Single Mom said...

We will be praying for Flynn this week. My daughter had her palate closed in April of 08. She was 4 years old at the time. I understand the nerves and fear. Shay was back to herself in no time and is proud to tell people "she had to go to the hospital and had surgery." So far not problems and her speech improved so quickly that we are out of speech. It is amazing what they can do. I love seeing your pictures. Flynn is so beautiful.

Julie - NC

Stacie said...

this just breaks my heart for you. I can only imagine what you are feeling. she is so strong and so are you. your nuturing care will only increase her bond to you. she will know that you are there to help her. i will be with you in spirit!

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Little Flynn is such a trooper... one tough little chickie... hugs to you all and will be thinking of you... take care

sarahthefantastic said...

Wait until she blows her first bubbles or sips her first sip from a straw! There are so many good things ahead for her once you go through that terrible day. I know you know that. We also send you mountains of love and support. xoxox....

Tami said...

Best of luck to you all. We are praying the surgery goes as smoothly as possible and Flynn will be back to her normal, smiling self soon.

MotherMotherOcean said...

It's going to be okay. I wish you all the best.

Colleen said...

Oh she is just stunning! She is also very strong just like her parents and togther all of you will do just great!
Thinking of all of you and wishing for a speedy recovery!

M@rgriet said...

Tuesday will be a loooooong day for you guys. Will be thinking of you! XXX M.

(guess what: the word verification for this comment is gxsafg... QQ!)

Cavatica said...

I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts. QQ is beautiful inside and out. You can't change that!

Maia said...

I'll be thinking of you guys for sure! And I know there is a loss here for you - one that I completely understand, but maybe it will help a little to try to keep in mind that this isn't even about the cosmetic as much as it's about giving her the best chance to communicate clearly. This surgery will be giving your daughter words - and that will be amazing.

Mei Mei Journal said...

I hope everythong goes smoothly for your sweet girl this week!
April