"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5

7/17/2006 Cleft Lip Repair

Move the mouse over the picture to see the change in Dayna - from happy to heartbreaking.

We can’t help but think of all the firsts in a baby’s life, Dayna’s in particular. We can now say that we have celebrated Dayna’s first nose job. Not the sort of occasion you find a greeting card for, but a monument for us nonetheless.

Monday morning started EARLY. It was a rough morning, not only because we were sending our precious daughter into the hands of virtual strangers, but also because we were saying goodbye to a face that we have grown to love. Dayna’s surgery started a little after 7:30. They started by putting tubes in her ears. Several people have asked us why this is necessary. Children with cleft lip and palate don’t have muscular control to close their Eustachian tubes when they eat, thus fluid collects behind their eardrums. Not only does this make them prone to chronic ear infections, but it also diminishes their ability to hear (for the record, Dayna technically failed her first audiology exam a few weeks ago; they’re hoping the tubes will help). With speech and language delays likely, not being able to hear clearly will further impede her progress. After the tubes, our plastic surgeon did his magic. He was able to repair her upper lip quite beautifully, and was pleased with the muscular structure of her lip. He also raised her right nostril. It looks like he did this by tethering through her nose and anchoring between her eyebrows. It gives her a bit of a Frankenstein appearance for now. He has also placed a “Logan’s Bow” across her mouth. This serves two purposes: first, it acts as a sort of mouth guard; second, it draws her cheeks and mouth inward so as not to put pressure on her sutures.

She’ll have to be in arm restraints for at least two weeks. She doesn’t seem to be too bothered by them, but it does give her quite the penguin appearance when she tries to clap her hands. She’s still on a liquid diet for now, but we’re going to try watered down potatoes this evening. The doctor says she can use a sippy cup without a valve, but we’re going to wait a few more days before we try to negotiate that around the Logan’s Bow. For now, the syringe seems to be working just fine.

Dayna’s getting her old spirit back, but we’re waiting to see her smiles. We’re sure it’s going to hurt her little lips, but her eyes just seem so sad right now, too. The expression on her face in these pictures just breaks our hearts. We do have a new consonant sound in her repertoire: the letter M! Alaina has graduated from being “WaWa” to “MaMa”. Dayna is up and playing, and wants to be very close to us. We just finished watching Baby Einstein’s “Meet the Orchestra” (yes, Alaina’s still unabashedly teaching music in the summers...we spent a lot of time talking about the cello) and cuddling on the couch together. By the way, did you know that the Pride of All Nebraska, the University of Nebraska Marching Band, is featured in this great video? Neither did we, but we found it to be a great discovery.

An interesting side note: when your doctor has ordered the clear liquid diet for you, apparently the kitchen doesn’t pay attention to your age. For dinner last night, Dayna was provided with beef broth, grape juice, a Popsicle, jello, and decaf coffee. Let’s just say the grape juice and Popsicle were both a hit.

A huge thanks to our friends Geoff and Mindy (a doctor and soon-to-be doctor) who work at the Med Center and stopped by throughout our stay to visit and distract us. Thanks also to Randal, who’s helped us keep our eyes on the prize and see the end result of all these surgeries; we really appreciated your visit last night after work. Thank you to everyone for your prayers!

Dan, Alaina & Dayna

Close up of her face, before and after (run your mouse over the picture)
Penguin arms
Sleeping peacefully at last

Hear Dayna say "Ma ma" for the first time!

7/17/2006 Cleft Lip Repair

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