Last Friday we had a doctor's appointment at Children's Mercy Hospital in the cranio-facial department regarding Inna's cleft lip and palate. We met with a social worker, a nutritionist, a pediatric dentist, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), an audiologist, the surgeon, and a language therapist.
Below I've posted a picture of the difference between a unilateral and bilateral cleft lip and palate. Inna was born with a bilateral cleft of both areas. Her lip was repaired in Ukraine when she was 8 months old and we have an appointment scheduled for December 7th to repair the palate. There is a possibility this date could be moved up so we will wait and see.
One of the largest concerns I had was if Inna's language delay was permanent. It seems right now her verbal language skills are near the cusp of a 20-24month old. However, her receptive language skills are right on target for her age if not a little above. Due to her cleft palate, she is only physically able to pronounce vowel sounds and the "m", "n", and "ng" sounds. However, she can also correctly compensate the "h", "l", and "y" sounds. So for now we are encouraging Inna to say words such as: hey, ham, Mama, Inna, Hi, moo, mow, moon, Nana, Mimi, etc.
As far as her surgery goes, it will be an overnight hospital stay for 1-2 nights. Then, there is a 10 day at-home recovery period at the minimum. This is mostly due to her restrictions on food since it will be an all liquid diet. It is likely Inna will need a total of 4-5 surgeries over a period of 8-10 years. Palate surgery (age 3), 1-2 bone grafts (age 7-9), possible lip/nose revision (although no one but Mommy thinks this is a big deal, probably because I was sensitive about mine growing up), and a possible speech surgery if needed. Overall I was pleased with the surgeon and his perspective on Inna's successful recovery!
The hardest part of the visit was near the 4 hour mark. We had to see the ENT to get Inna's ears cleaned. She had a difficult time with the hearing test and they believe it is in part of not being able to see her eardrums due to wax buildup. Our options were to hold her down or come later and sedate her. We chose to hold her down. It took Daddy, Mommy, and a nurse to keep our little munchkin down on the table. She cried so hard she broke blood vessels in both arms and around her temples:( After 15 minutes of Inna screaming, kicking, and sweating through the ear wax sucking/picking process, they were finally able to see her eardrums. We are now giving her ear drops and will re-take the hearing test in a few weeks.
After weeks of praying about this appointment, I am so happy to hear from professionals that she is doing well! I see her progress every day but it feels good to have others see it as well. We have a long road ahead of us but I'm reminded to take each day at a time.
On another note, I wanted to post some pictures so this is Inna's first go at making cupcakes. After watching Daddy take a taste of the batter, Inna decided to dive in as well. Needless to say, she loved it:)