Monday, 1 September 2008

The last scan

Today we saw Ms Hutt for the last scan and there's still no build up of liquid which still points to potential good news in terms of the extent of the clefting of the palate, or at least the soft palate. Then we went to the orthodontics department where all the outpatients seem to know each other which might be because they spend a lot of time there. We've definitely seen a lot of that hospital over the last 4 months and for the sake of the car parking fees alone, I'll be glad when can stop going back for a while.

Anyway our original cleft specialist, who came to visit us the very next morning after the 20 week scan (but who hasn't been in touch since((despite having said that she would))) saw us first and then took us into see 'Team Cleft'. They all have their specialist roles, Ann, the community cleft woman, Sue, the orthodontist, Piet the saviour and three others who we didn't talk to but were there. One of them is a clinical psychologist which I believe is to help with the child's self image, bullying and well being etc. These others all looked a bit young to be of any use but what do I know.

Piet knows his onions that's for sure. He's done 140 of these ops, either cleft only, palate only or cleft and palate, every week for the last 5 years. He's definitely our man. There's only been 2 ops which went back for a second go and a lot has happened during his time in terms of how clefts are repaired. It used to be that a few hundred surgeons in the UK repaired cleft lips and palates up until just a few years ago, now there's 2 or 3. They also do other facial surgery as it's all related and staying on top of all areas of the face is good as they are all related and a breakthrough in one area could well affect another. The general feeling is that with only a small handful of very specialist surgeons handling the whole cleft remit for the entire country, the average results are getting better and better.

Babies used to come home with arm restraints to stop them pulling at their stitches a bit like the cliche sketch show with someone with both arms in plaster. Apparently it's no longer necessary for the lip repair which is a relief as I think it would be a bit heartbreaking to see a 3 month old baby restrained in such a way. After the palate repair they still put sock like gloves on (mittens, perhaps?!) just so they can't put their fingers through the newly repaired roof of their mouth.

So that's it, the last time we'll be back at a scheduled time (unless to be induced). The next time should be in rather a hurry to say hello to the one we've all been talking and worrying about for the last 18 weeks! Oblivious to all this, in blissful ignorance, I hope CP has been enjoying him or herself readying for a timely and pain free birth. The baby now weighs 7 pounds with 3 weeks to go so Clare's naturally wincing and hopefully the next growth spurt will be on the outside.

I saw a couple of brand new babies in their Maxi Cosies on the way out of hospital carried by knackered looking Dads ready for their journey to begin and realised that it'll be me next time I walk out. Can't wait!

No comments: