Even though she was prepared to see her newborn baby with a cleft lip and palate, Jaime still remembers being shocked by how big it actually was. It was a heartwarming moment when her other two sons came to see their new baby brother and while they had been prepared to see him with an “owie” on his face, they both said “He’s beautiful. Where’s his owie?”
Within two weeks, Jaime and her husband were meeting with Debbie in the Cleft Palate clinic who talked them through the process to get a NAM (Nasoalveolar Molding) device. It’s a specialized retainer designed to bring everything as close together as possible prior to surgery, as well as help shape the nose and increase the piece of skin between the nostrils. It was a huge commitment and required Jaime to tape it into place daily…often several times a day. It was a grueling three months with weekly visits to the clinic for adjustments.
Jaime hated the NAM, but she was so grateful to see the results. Over the course of the three months, the space in his lip closed up dramatically in preparation for his first surgery which took place in December 2015. Plastic surgeon, Ryan Frank, performed surgery to give him a complete upper lip.
Oliver’s brothers, Cole and Finn, were a little disappointed that the NAM was gone because that meant their weekly visits to Emily’s Backyard at the hospital were over. They missed the toys and their special friends there and asked often to go back!
In August 2016, Oliver underwent a more extensive surgery to repair his palate. While recovering in hospital for a week, Oliver quickly became a crowd favorite with the nurses and all the staff because of his happy disposition. Jaime was grateful for the extra special care her son received…right down to the janitor who would pay him a friendly visit every day!
When he’s eight, Oliver will have yet another ortho surgery to close his gum line, but that’s a ways away yet. For now, Oliver brings joy to his entire family with his contagious grin and busy chatter. Jaime is grateful for the incredible team in the cleft palate clinic for supporting them through this journey so far!
To hear more stories like this or to donate to the 2017 Caring for Kids Radiothon in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation visit www.KidsRadiothon.com