I can't believe its already Thanksgiving. Lauren's surgery is tomorrow at 11am. 14 months ago, Lauren came into this world with a surprise for all of us. Sporting a cleft palate (complete absence of hard and soft palate) at birth, the little pea has taken everyone she knows for an emotional ride over the past year. 1 in 600 are the odds of having a cleft palate baby. Seems like small odds now that the number has lingered on us for awhile. From learning to drink her milk without the ability to suck and to eat solids without a rooftop in her mouth, these are some of the challenges she faced and has overcome.
The surgery will take about 3 hours and she'll be in the hospital for a few days for recovery. Following this, she'll have to wear arm restraints for 3 weeks, 24 hours a day, to prevent her hands from going in her mouth. Its going to be a LONG 3 weeks for us. Following the surgery, 6 weeks post operation, she'll return to the hospital for some follow-ups appointments.
I'm excited about the surgery tomorrow and I believe that everything should go smoothly. While we still have a long road ahead of us, I hope the palate repair and ear tubes will shed some light on her hearing issues and give us a better sense of direction to head in. But no matter what happens, Lauren will continue to grow and develop as best she can, guided by her family, friends and therapists.
I give thanks this Thanksgiving for having wonderful, supportive and loving family and friends. Its been hard on us, but I know that its also hard for those around us as well. Not knowing what to say, how much to say, how much to ask, how much not to ask. Its a difficult situation to be in, for all of us, but I think we are fortunate to have an amazing support system to share openly Lauren's smiles and tears. I also give thanks for being blessed with a wonderful husband who loves Lauren unconditionally and is an optimistic and relaxed individual. Steve sees Lauren as perfect the way she is and really grounds and levels me out. And finally, I give thanks for two beautiful daughters who have given me a life I would have never imagined. I learn from them every day, big things and small things, the good and the bad. They have shaped me, softened me, and have made me a better person. And I give thanks to them.