...this is a little complicated, but easier to communicate than calling everyone...
We took Izaiah to his first assessment with the cleft "team" at Children's Memorial Hospital today. It's been a long, long day with far too many details, as well as unknowns, to mention here. In extremely simple terms: they took an impression of his upper mouth, which they will use during the next few weeks to try to develop a plan for how to best begin the process of repairing it. So, no surgery date as of yet... we're now just in a planning phase. We are still hoping for surgery sometime in late January, but we'll see.
In a nutshell, the little round thing under his nose, which we call his "nubby", actually is 2 things: his upper lip (on the top portion), and his upper gum-line (on the lower portion), from which will eventually come his two upper front teeth! The problem is that this nub sticks out almost an inch from the rest of his existing (and healthy) upper gum line (which is normal and healthy on the right and left sides from the back, up to his canine teeth). So, we need to have his nub pulled further back into his mouth before his lip can even be closed. To accomplish this is going to be quite a task, which will involve surgically installing an "appliance" into the roof of his mouth, removing part of the bone on the back of the nub (to make it more pliable) and attaching it to the appliance with bands that will 'pull' the nub back toward his upper gum-line. Our apologies if this isn't clear. But anyhow, the hope is that after a few months, this will allow his nub to move backward so his lip can be closed properly, without his upper two front teeth sticking way out, which they will be if this is not done first.
All of this would've been much simpler had it been done when he was younger, but since the bone that holds his nubby has hardened with age, it will take some surgery and 'tools' to persuade everything back into place so that we can proceed as anyone would with a more 'common' cleft lip. The issue at hand now is whether or not this temporary appliance will be surgically anchored into his mouth with 'pins', or if it will be removable, almost like a retainer would be after having braces. There are serious advantages to either route (too complicated to discuss here), but we are praying and believing that the best decision will be reached by our incredibly competent and experienced team at C.M.H. Our two primary doctors, one being the surgeon and the other the orthodontist, have to sit down with the mold of his mouth and work their magical skills in planning this procedure. These two men have worked together for over 2 decades and we are so grateful that the Lord has led us to them, as they seem to be very interested, knowledgeable and prepared for the somewhat difficult work of bringing a long-term level of health and 'normality' to Izaiah.
Once again, we are pleading with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to be interceding for wisdom for our doctors, the upcoming surgeries and recovery for our baby boy. This has been an emotional wrecking-ball every step of the way, not least of all today... and we haven't even had a surgery yet!!! And yet we know and believe that God is in control, and that as we place our trust in Him and ask Him to guide our every step, that He will continue to be faithful and lead us forward. We're also asking for everyone's understanding if we aren't able to return phone calls or emails. Adjusting to all of this is like trying to acclimate to life on Mars. And as all with children know, they consume every waking moment... even under more 'normal' circumstances! So again, our deepest thanks, and God's blessings on everyone who has shown us such graciousness and kindness. Please know that you are in our prayers. We'll update again when we know more.
Soli Deo Gloria!