Thursday, February 28, 2008

He will make the girls swoon with that little scar

When BOY was born with a cleft lip, we knew that our lives would be just a little different. Here we were, parents for the first time, and with the added stress and blessing of being adoptive parents. The cleft lip was a surprise. It had not been revealed in previous ultrasounds and if it had, it would have only made us worry. More. And we were worried enough. As confident as we were in our birthmother's decision for us to become BOY's forever parents, you can never be 100% confident that life will go that way. But, deep down, I truly believed that all of this would go forward and we would finally become parents.

It was scary, because we knew nothing of cleft lips. We never once considered not moving forward with the adoption. This has been asked of me before, and I find it an odd question. Perhaps it isn't. But, for us, there was no other path. The minute BOY was placed in my arms in the nursery, I became his mother. I was so ready. And here was our little miracle. The baby who started kicking the moment his birthmother began reading our letter on the adoption agency's web site. There are no accidents. This was meant to be. The nurses were quick to tell us that a cleft lip was nothing. Merely cosmetic. We were concerned, but one of the blessings of becoming a parent of an infant is that you have to just keep moving forward. Your entire focus becomes ...feeding, changing and awakening at all hours of the night for this tiny, most precious being.

BOY had no problem taking to a bottle. He polished them off like he was downing pints at his very own Oktoberfest. His personality was clear from the beginning. He was active and eager to get on to the next thing.

By the time he was 7 weeks old, he was over 10 lbs; the weight requirement for surgery. I will never forget having to hand him over to the nurse and watch her carry him, crying, down the long hallway toward the O.R. I grabbed E and just held on for dear life. The surgery took over 4 hours. We were there just after he awakened from the anesthesia, and that was difficult because BOY was covered in wires and was very confused. We were able to pick him up and give him a bottle right away, which helped to calm him. The surgery had been successful, but we noticed that his upper lip pulled up slightly.

On our follow-up visit, the surgeon pointed out to us what we had noticed. The slight pull up of the lip, instead of it being a smooth line. Also, the scar was a bit red in color. At our appointment 6 months later, the surgeon continued to be concerned about the redness and the pulling up of his lip. We were to come back again in another 6 months to assess his lip once again.

Meanwhile, he continued to astound us with his physical abilities. At 4 months he was pushing himself across the floor on his stomach. At 6 months he did the army crawl. During playgroup picnics, he was the only one who wouldn't stay on the blanket. He was always focused on something at a distance that he could zero in on, and did, by crawling over the rest of the babies and moms to get there. By 10 months (when GIRL was born) he started walking. He has always been on the move and is curious about everything.

When BOY was 18 months old, he had his 2ND surgery. We were a little reluctant as by then he looked perfect to us. And would it really make a noticeable difference? But, the surgeon, being a perfectionist as all good surgeons are, explained that each surgery is a new experience. A new opportunity. His hope was that the new scar tissue would heal differently, not be as red in color and that the scar tissue beneath the incision would be softer. This surgery was called a lip revision. Because he was so active, they thought it might help to give him a drug to relax him beforehand. The nurse explained to us that in 5% of children, it didn't work. didn't work. So, he was quite scared, being more aware of his surroundings when the hand off came this time. The surgery, although less complicated, still took quite a long time - from what I remember over 2 hours. He was very agitated when he awoke and cried until we literally walked out of the hospital.

The surgeon was right, as this time his lip was beautifully aligned, the scar tissue less red and it has continued fading to white over time. Today, you can hardly see it. For people who didn't know BOY back then, the scar escapes their notice. They assume it is from a fall or accident, if they notice it at all. It will always be a part of him and if anything, those experiences melded him to our hearts even more. He will make the girls swoon with that little scar. There's something Sexy... something Rough & Ready about a man who has a scar. A little dangerous, perhaps? Definitely intriguing. That's how I like to see it.

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  1. Oh,you're right about scar. The girls will love that.

    Who wouldn't want to come into the world as one of your children? He's a lucky boy.

  2. Yes, it will be intriguing, mysterious.

  3. I enjoyed reading this story of how boy came into your life. How lucky you all are to be a family!

  4. i just find the boy's entire story from start to finish fascinating! he's already so rich with experience for such a small dude!

  5. Enthralling post and an enchanting glimpse of BOY.

    I haven't been reading long - Is GIRL adopted, too?

  6. Does anyone ask if you would have walked away from your biological daughter if she was born with a visible imperfection? What is wrong with some people?

    My nephew has a bilateral cleft lip, a cleft palate, and a pre-maxilla. It's 10 surgeries and counting. I'm glad your BOY only took two.

    Your right about scars. And with the way you describe him, he'll end up with a few more!

  7. Both my kids are adopted and are less than 18 months apart. Adoption is such a blessing.

    Sounds like your BOY is a fighter and very determined. I love how you don't/didn't see the scars. That is how I feel about my husband and all he has been through. When he gained all the weight/bloating from steriods with his cancer, I didn't notice. Others did. When he lost it, I didn't notice, either. Others did.


  8. You've got a tough -- yet tender -- little fighter! What a gift.

  9. think harrison ford, he's got a scar too.

  10. Girls love a masculine man with a scar - it makes the man even that much more interesting.

    Alexis was born with a 6th finger (pinky) on her left hand, at birth. They took it off (put a string around it) and it didn't take all of it off, so she has this little bump on the side of her hand. When she was a baby, my sister called it her "accessory" - we still do. I remember people being so worried about it when she was born - but not me. If that was the worse thing I had to worry about - Hey, who couldn't use an extra finger - HA! I found out early on that it is more common than people realize.

    Have a good weekend J - see you later. Kellan

  11. i have a scar on my upper lip - from falling face first down a fireman's pole as a child. i will take this new stance... that it makes me intriguing. ;) love it.

  12. Harrison Ford is who I always think of when I look at the scar above RC's right eye (beneath the eyebrow). He fell down the stairs a week before his 2nd birthday.

    "Rough and ready" is a perfect way to describe our perfect boys.

    Such odd questions from people.

  13. I love a man with a scar-it's a story to tell.

  14. Well, 2 people took my answer - Harrison Ford. But I'll go ahead and add Gene Kelly.
    People do ask very strange questions. You have to wonder if they listen to themselves or just open their mouths and see what comes out.

  15. An amazing tale. I am always a sucker for your BOY stories...I just think there is a brotherhood of shared traits amongst the little guys. He is beautiful.

  16. Oh I just love this, your little man will be flocked with girls with his mysterious scar, ala Joquin Phoenix.

  17. Hi,

    I came across your blog and loved reading this story. I have 2 children who were born with clefts- Johnny and Jimmy.

    I can totally relate with the dreading you do as a parent when you feel your kid looks perfect, but yet there is a revision on the surgery timeline.

    And are you going to finish that bon bon?

  18. I just remembered seeing the pictures of you pregnant, in the post about your hair (btw, you looked great in all those!). Sorry, very little sort term memory available these days.

  19. Yep, he will break hearts . . . heh, he already is!

  20. I love learning more about your family everyday.

  21. I found your blog through my friends, the Fowler family. My first son was born with a cleft and I loved reading your post. I feel like I have a special little bond with other families that have gone through the same thing...even if I have never officially met them.


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