Sunday, December 5, 2010

Waiting for Baby Jesus and our own baby Paige....

What does it mean to be "ready" for the baby?  I have a place for her to sleep, little baby clothes washed and put least up to 3 months, diapers and wipes and the room is pretty much done.  I even had a stocking knit and few other things....just in case this year is her first Christmas.

It is an interesting time to be "with Child." Though I am no "Mother Mary,"  I can relate to anticipating the birth of a child during a very special time of year.  It is exciting...and makes me wonder whether Paige will choose to come before Christmas...or on it....or possibly my 31st birthday (12/27) or maybe New years...or maybe her daddy's Priestly Ordination, January 8th.  I was due on Christmas and my mom always talked about waiting for me to come....she had my cradle by the tree and hoped a little that I would wait my turn, so my older siblings could have a "normal" Christmas.  Well like I have always done...I followed directions and came two days after. 

Growing up with a Christmas birthday is interesting....People always ask if it sucked or if I always got one gift instead of two.  Sometimes I did, but some people would combine them and get me something much cooler than I would have got for one or the other.  A few years back I also realized that I get to see a lot more of my family around my birthday and many of them actually know when mine is versus many of my cousins born in more obscure months. what if I have had a birthday cake shaped like a tree or my present is wrapped in the only paper laying around that has Santa on it.  It makes the Christmas season that much more warm and bright in my eyes.    It never hurt that my mom always worked to make me feel special anyway...I even got a treat and small present for my half birthday, just so something cool happened half way through the year.  Hey, who better to share your birthday with than Jesus?

In many ways...I never wished the same fate upon my own child. It kinda just happened.  One thing I am realizing though is, it again makes this season even more special.  Even the air feels "pregnant" with hope and anticipation of something special to come.  My child's birth will always be instilled with yummy smells and beautiful lights.  I am excited to spend my early birthing time before going to the hospital in my living room with the lit Christmas tree and candles.  It is one of the most tranquil feelings in the world.  

We are having a baby...whether she has a cleft or not.  She is a little person already. Knit in my womb by God 99.9% and the doctors will stitch up the rest with God's guidance.  She is so greatly anticipated and already loved.  I can't imagine her coming at a more special time of year. It really is a blessing and a very special gift to bring her into this world.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cupid's Bow and Rosebud dreams

What does your unborn child look like? When you imagine and dream you think about that baby smell, soft skin, giggles, diaper bums and that sweet baby rosebud mouth. 

At our 20 week ultrasound Paige was healthy and everything looked good. She would not show her face so the doctor asked us to come back in two weeks. On August 30th, 2010, we went back feeling light hearted and excited about seeing our baby girl again, expecting everything to be routine. When the doctor got the view of her face, we all could see without words that there was a shadow indent on the right side of her lip. The doctor confirmed that she had a unilateral cleft lip but the palate was unclear and we would try again four weeks later to get a look. We were sad and overwhelmed but knew she would be fine. Phil wanted to tell the world and let them know that we will be ok, our baby is healthy and surgery would definitely be apart of her early life. It took a few weeks to gain some understanding and acceptance around this reality, but we  were still so excited to meet our beautiful baby girl.

We went back to the perinatologist for another high res ultrasound and confirmed that her palate and gum line are involved.  The pic above shows the cleft in her gum line looking up from under her chin. 

That day we handled it okay. I think in many ways we were expecting the news and felt more educated about what it means, than when we first found out about the cleft lip.  We are still so excited to meet our little girl, though this news makes me more nervous about feeding her.

The day after we found out about her cleft, we announced that her name would be "Paige" to friends and family. I took a picture of my tummy with her name on it in alphabet letters and posted it on Facebook. We decided to keep her middle name a surprise until her birth.

As much as we feel like we know this little girl already, we think that she will be full of surprises and a very special person.....because she has already shown us that and as my husband puts it, "She is a DeVaul after all."  Thanks to all who have kept us in your prayers.  We will go on this journey together with your support and love.

Paige's Cleft Journey

I will continue to add to this page as I find out more, and as Paige's journey progresses:

What is a cleft?
A cleft of the lip and/or palate occurs very early in pregnancy, between 7 and 11 weeks after conception. The face and head form from back to front, normally meeting in the middle and forming the two lines under the nose and the raised ridge running down the center of the palate as they fuse. If the timing is off for some reason, the lip and/or the palate fail to fuse completely, and the resulting gap is the cleft.
Paige will be born with a complete unilateral cleft lip on the right side, meaning the gap extends into her nostril, and most likely she will have a complete unilateral cleft palate, meaning the gap in the palate runs all the way from her gumline in front, through her hard and maybe her soft palate, to her uvula in the back.
What causes a cleft? Is it genetic or environmental, or just random?
The causes of clefting are only partially understood. In some cases it runs in families, and some ethnic groups have a higher incidence of clefting, but most of the time there is no family history and no connection to any other health problems. There are also some environmental factors which can increase the risk, such as maternal smoking, certain medications and high exposure to pesticides, but again most of the time it is just a random thing. We were completely surprised by the diagnosis, since we have no family history on either side, and I was extremely careful during the whole pregnancy, doing everything "right."

Clefts are the most common birth defect, affecting one in every 700 births in the U.S. We all know people affected by clefts, but most of the time don't realize it because of the wonderful success of repairs, which are performed so early most of us have never seen an unrepaired cleft lip.
View a video that shows one baby's story at a Detroit Hospital:
Cleft Lip Surgery Video - Detroit Medical Center
Paige's timeline so far:
August 30, 2010:
22 week ultrasound reveals cleft lip 
September 27th, 2010:
26 week ultrasound shows probable gumline involvement. We can't tell how extensive the palate is involved until birth.
December 2, 2010:
Interviewed cleft team at Children's Hospital of Orange County and will select surgeon from recommendations. 
January 2, 2011: 
Paige's estimated due date.
Lip and nose repair surgery, ear tube placement (About age 10 weeks)
Hard palate surgery and soft palate (About age 8-10 months)
Possible lip and nose revision (About age 4 years)
Bone graft to complete gum line (About age 8-9 years)