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.
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.
She is sticking her tongue out at us in this one :)
What a stinker – always covering her little face!