Cleft Journey

Cleft Lip Surgery

On 18 July 2018, Matthew was exactly 3 months old, it’s also the day he was admitted to Hospital to perform his 1stcleft lip surgery. His weight also has reached the minimum requirement (min. 6 kg) to do the surgery; which is great. But before that, there were few things need to be done before surgery. Matthew needs to be checked again with ENT for his ears as well as with the Pediatric Anesthesia prior the surgery procedure.

Apparently as because Matthew has an open palate inside his mouth, during the drinking process, the milk sometimes flows through his nose and possibly to his ears as well. The ENT found out that there are some fluid built up in Matthew’s ears; so we need to put a small ventilating tube to drain the fluid & keep regulating flow of air in his middle ear. This is a quick procedure and can be done together during his lip’s surgery.

The scheduled Surgery took place on the following day at 8 AM and beforehand like other anesthesia procedure, the patient needs to fast. This has become a challenge for us as Matthew was quite a drinker and he took his milk every 2-3 hours regularly. Thus, at the last drinking milk was allowed at 2AM, we feed him as much as possible he could take before he went for fasting. Yet as we predicted at 5AM, Matthew woke up cried looking for milk but we tried to carry him around to calm him down as we were going to Operating Theater at 6AM.

first surgery

I was extremely nervous and I told myself that I must prepared mentally about Matthew’s recovery process and realized how much we will miss his special smile that I would never forget. The surgery took around 2 hours; and when I again saw Matthew discharge from Operating Theater, honestly, it’s a heartache to see him in pain and cry. Definitely not easy for all of us to go through it but we need to have a big heart and be patience in this crucial situation.

We could already saw that the surgery went well, and could see Matthew’s Lips was brought together nicely, even though there were stitches around it. Understandably, I thought this newly form of lips must be quite weird for Matthew himself, as maybe his muscle, tissue and skin were still stiff or have unfamiliar feel for him especially when drinking milk from his own bottles.

Slowly he started to feel it, Matthew started again drinking milk from the bottles but not as much as before and we needed to clean his wound every time after feeding and giving him medications to avoid infection. Fortunately, after 7 days, Matt was back to his usual self. He was able to drink his milk as normal. As to make sure that the stitches were heal properly, Matthew was wearing arm splints to avoid scratching his face from his hands. It took around 2 weeks for the stitches to came out and the result was satisfying and we felt our hard work was paid off.

For me apart from the Doctor and Nurses Job, we as a parent played a very important role in the recovery process as we don’t want to ruin the result of the surgery and we must closely follow the instructions such as:

  • Make sure the baby is well fed
  • Make sure the baby took the medication prescribed by the doctor
  • Make sure to clean the stitches, lips and mouth after every feeding
  • And make sure that no any other object touching the baby lips and mouth (Wearing Splint arm)






1 thought on “Cleft Lip Surgery”

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