Matthews cleft lip had been repaired during his 3 months old but it did not stop there as his palate needed to be repaired as well. Generally, it could be done when the baby is older or at least before he/she started to learn to speak. But for us we did it during Matthew’s 10 months old.
This time his second surgery was little bit different as Matthew was more aware and active during his development; he was on the move and crawling machine. However, for the sake of all of us, I decided not to give him any solid food until he was passed his second palate surgery.
The preparation for the palate repair surgery basically is similar with the first surgery procedure. We must comply with the anesthesia requirement as well as Matthew needs to fast before the surgery the night before.
At that time we felt more ready and knew what was coming because we already went through the phases of surgery and recovery process. The only different thing was that Matthew was somehow aware of what his surroundings due to his older age.
The surgery took almost 2 hours time and it went well. When Matthew was discharge from operating theater his arms were again already covered with arms splint as he became conscious. Again we must prevent any object including his hands to be put inside his mouth during this recovery process. For the feeding this time we need to use different special spout feeder where the fluid can flow directly without the needs of suctions.
As Matthew was more aware we needs to distract him a lot when feeding him or giving him his medication by showing him cars passed by from our hospital window even also when we went back home. He really loves cars.
As the stitches were inside his mouth the cleaning process that we needed to do is to rinse the mouth with water after feeding him with the milk. This time I guess personally we were all prepared, I knew he himself too. After 3 days, he showed his cheeky smile to us and we love it!
The recovery process is really important to make sure that we would not ruin the result of the surgery:
- Make sure the baby is having enough intake
- Make sure the baby took the medication prescribed by the doctor
- Make sure to rinse with water to clean the palate after feeding
- And make sure that no any other object is inserted into the mouth (Wearing Splint arm)
I am aware that other might have given a soft / solid food to the baby before the palate surgery and for this I think it is best to consult with the doctors on how to feed the baby during the recovery process.
As for Matthew, we decided to give his first soft food after his second operation , he was 11 months old at that time. His intake was 3 weeks after his palates surgery and it was banana puree.
Thus, I hope my sharing stories about my journey with my baby will help all parents out there to be courageous in what circumtances may come with a child cleft journey and surgeries.
For Matthew he also needs to be review for his speech skill as well going to alveolar bone grafting surgery at his 10 years old but at the moment we will enjoy of what had been done and thanking God for His Kindness.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand”