Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How do they do palate surgery?

That's what I asked our surgeon when we had Mia's pre-op appointment last week. (Yes, we are officially one week post palate surgery!) I knew all the "stuff" they needed for the surgery was blessedly already there, but just wondered what it entailed. Well, he pulled out a pen and used the paper on the exam table to draw us a diagram of what Mia's palate currently looked like, where they would do the incisions and what it would look like afterwards. As he started drawing, I thought, "Dang, not only is he a great surgeon, he's also an excellent artist." I don't know why, but that thought was oddly comforting at the time. Call me strange, but it was. Seriously, the drawing looked exactly like what I'd observed when I'd looked inside Mia's mouth. After he went  over it with us, we were able to tear out the sketch and take it home with us. I took a photo with my cell phone so I could upload it here. I added notations on what the doctor told us so that we could remember and share.

The pre-surgery sketch.

The post-surgery sketch.

They left a gap in the skin of the palate right behind the front unattached center gum line that the surgeon explained would be closed when they do the bone graft when she's a little older. One of the reasons they wait to do that is to help reduce the risk of inhibiting that front top jawline from growing. I guess there can be growth issues with the top jaw, so they leave it alone in hopes that it will keep growing like it should. It was all very fascinating and informative. Because of that small gap, she still has some food come out of her nose but not nearly as much as she had previously. I think that if she didn't have the propensity for blowing air out her nose after taking a bite of food (when she's playing around), there would be a lot less issues with any food being blown out. Silly girl!

I must admit that last night I saw a few videos on youtube about palate repair. One was a "real-time" video. Ick! Needless to say, I am so SO SOOOO glad that I didn't see that prior to surgery. I highly HIGHLY recommend that parents who are soon to have their little one's undergo plate surgery do not watch any real-life palate repair videos. I don't think I would have EVER been able to hand her over for this surgery if I had seen them prior to her surgery. My advice to anyone even thinking about viewing videos like that prior to their sweet little one having surgery is a very VERY strong DON'T!

That being said, I'm super curious about how things look in Mia's mouth, both before and after surgery. When I was changing her diaper earlier today she was making open-mouthed silly faces and I got a good look at the roof of her mouth. It looks exactly like the second diagram!  :)  I can see black stitches down the middle of the palate, like the surgeon had told us we would. It looks to me to be the same black thread that they used for the tongue stitch. To be quite honest, the stitches look a little crazy and uneven on that middle part - and kind of look like the careless stitches you'd use on an old shoe or something. It's held together nicely though, so I can't complain. You can't even see any of the stitches around the outer edge of her palate. I'm not sure if they used different string or what. The surgeon said the stitches will dissolve on their own, so I guess I'm glad they are so thick since they should hold for a while as they slowly dissolve. I can see where the black organic stuff was placed, but it's already gone so I can see the exposed area where the skin will grow back. Such an amazing process.

One week. One week! It's already been one week post surgery and Mia's pretty much back to normal. I feel so grateful and so lucky. She slept in her crib last night for 11-12 hours straight and has taken her normal set of two, two-hour naps. She's taking her bottle and soft foods like a champ again and we are so relieved! The arm restraints don't really seem to bother her that much, though when we take them off, that little turkey immediately looks right at you and holds eye contact as she puts BOTH her hands in her mouth. Oh my! As I was telling a friend via email earlier today, the only really hard part about the arm restraints is that she can't bend her arms to sign "hungry" (fingers to her mouth) when she's hungry and she also can't bend her arms to rub her eyes to let us know when she's ready to go down for a nap or for the night. She can however, still wave her arms to let us know when she's "all done" during feeding time.

Well, yes it's a miracle, we made it through palate repair surgery none the worse for wear. We hope and pray that no fistulas (holes) open up in her palate, which would require another surgery. She's doing so well and in one more week we'll have the arm restraints off and be good to go! Thank you to all of you who kept us in your thoughts and prayers and sent good vibes and positive karma our way - all of your efforts definitely paid off in BIG dividends!

And now, for your daily dose of cuteness:

Is that a giraffe on my shirt?!?!

I LOVE giraffes!!!

Silly baby.

Uh, oh. Somebody is working on figuring out the Velcro on her arm restraints.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I'm SO glad that she is recovering so well! What a blessing for everyone! I'm halfway tempted to go see those palate surgery videos now, but I don't think I should, even though I don't have a baby going in! Love you guys!