I knew something was different about this pregnancy. Don’t ask me how. But I kept waiting for them to confirm something was wrong. A cyst that turned out to be nothing. Something else on my part that went away. An echogenic focus in the baby’s stomach that sent us to have a level 2 ultrasound. The debris in the stomach was gone. But then Dr. Livingston sat us down and told us that our baby boy had a cleft lip and cleft palate.
Throughout this pregnancy I had continually prayed that all would be okay, but I had also asked of God that He prepare me and help me through it should things not be okay. I think there are some moments in life when your emotions take over, and I think God forgave mine that day. All I wanted to do was get out of the room. Find air. Find sunshine. Find that my brain had just processed some information incorrectly. Because I couldn’t breathe. My body was shaking. But somehow I managed to sit there and barely register the details my husband and the doctor talked through. Details I wasn’t ready for when I could hardly understand the main point.
Despite day one’s emotional response–there were moments during that day, last Friday, when I was completely hysterical–I think there were subtle things that did prepare me to accept this new reality. An old friend’s son, and the only other person in the entire world I know who has dealt with cleft lip/cleft palate, had the same defect just this year. (And actually, according to the statistics that one baby in every 700 is born with this, out of my 700-something facebook friends, I should be the only one I know.) A new friend’s son, who has become my son’s best bud, is now six-years-old and still undergoes surgery on his face for something he was born with. Both very strong, dedicated mothers, who love their children more than anything in the world. And who have dealt with their unforeseen trials beautifully.
Now, five days after receiving the news, I am worried or sad at brief moments, but then peaceful. Our first year will most likely be a difficult one, but not impossible. I am thankful that he is healthy and well at this point on all other terms. So, so thankful. And thankful for the beautiful children who keep me motivated and incredibly loved every day. And they, I know would tell you, are thankful to look forward to the little brother they had hoped for!