Time Travel / The Things You Need

When we first received R’s cleft diagnosis at my 20-week ultrasound, we were overwhelmed with all of the unknowns.  How extensive was the cleft going to be?  What would surgeries be like?  What would feeding be like?  All of our past parenting experience felt like it flew out the window.  This was uncharted territory. The… Continue reading Time Travel / The Things You Need

Cleft Palate Surgery

(Some of these pictures look strange to me now. "Pre-COVID footage" disclaimer!) I mean, look at this guy! He’s perfect, right?  He doesn’t need another surgery, right? At least, that’s how I started to feel as the palate surgery date crept closer.  His lip repair was looking good, we had feeding routines down (3 cheers… Continue reading Cleft Palate Surgery

Exclusive Pumping

When a baby with a cleft can't breastfeed, exclusive pumping is another option. Here's how it went for us and answers to questions I had. The most unsettling part of the cleft diagnosis for me was the question no one could really answer until R was born.  What’s feeding going to be like?   Clefts come… Continue reading Exclusive Pumping

Annual Cleft Checkup

This week: SMILE, it’s annual checkup time! Why we’re smiling: It’s time to go visit our “team!”  Our cleft/craniofacial clinic is 2.5 hours away from where we live.  We go for annual visits where we rotate through seeing all of our specialists in one morning: audiologist, plastic surgeon, ENT, speech pathologist.  After our visit, they… Continue reading Annual Cleft Checkup

Delivery and NICU

Most of the time, a 9-months-pregnant mama just wants that baby OUT. That crowded belly makes it harder to breathe, eat, sleep, chase other children, stand up, sit down, exist. You’re tired and in suspense and you just want to be done. Things were different this time, though.  I still wanted to be done being… Continue reading Delivery and NICU

Lip Surgery Recovery

See Part 1-- Cleft Lip Surgery Furrowed brow. Recovery is rough. R continued to be fussy, gurgly, and moany for most of that first day after lip surgery.  The nurses assured us that this was normal and was mainly due to the effects of anesthesia.  And although he didn’t have much appetite, we got started… Continue reading Lip Surgery Recovery

Cleft Lip Surgery

I don’t know if handing a child over for surgery can ever feel routine.  All three of our kids have had to go under anesthesia by now at least once; 2017 ended up being the year of two cleft surgeries and one appendectomy.  But R's lip repair was the first, and probably the most difficult.… Continue reading Cleft Lip Surgery


Your third pregnancy can get to feel pretty routine.  All those first-time feelings—awe and wonder at the intricacies of baby growing from week to week, panic at every twinge, knowing but somehow still not really believing that the small human inside would one day be a very real baby outside—all of that kind of fades… Continue reading Diagnosis

10 Things: What to Expect…

...when you’re expecting a baby with a cleft. Before R was born, I desperately needed accurate information and encouragement.  If you and I could sit down for coffee, these are the things I would want to tell you about having a baby with a cleft.  I am working on full blog posts to provide more… Continue reading 10 Things: What to Expect…