Wednesday 29 September 2010

Piet Haers sign off, speech and what's next

I can't believe where the last year went. It only seems like yesterday I was writing here that Prof Haers had given the cleft palate repair the O.K and told us not to come back for a year. Since then, we've had just one trip back to the hospital for the initial speech assessment six months ago.

Clare took Jake to see Piet Haers last week for the yearly check up and then afterwards back to the speech team to see what progress has been made in the intervening six months.

Piet is pleased with how things have gone. It seems ages ago that I wrote about the 18 month period between the cleft lip repair operation and when the scar has finished settling. Anyway this is now the end of the 18 month period and to be honest I'd completely forgotten about it. So, basically his lip is now in the shape it'll always be, it'll just get bigger as the rest of him does. To my surprise Piet said that Jake will need another operation. Well he didn't say need, he said that Jake would probably want to have had another operation if he didn't. I'm fine about where his lip's ended up, but there is something Elvis-like about it. Not completely perfect but it's him now, his little thing. However it's one thing for me to think it's cute and quite another from Jake's point of view when he goes to school. There's the bigger picture to consider here, like the one where other kids will pick on even the slightest difference to gain playground kudos. Whether it's glasses, a big nose, a birthmark, having two dads etc, they'll use it to their advantage. So I guess a quick revision will be worth it. I'm also quite pleased that the main man thinks he can improve it. The day after his first operation, stitches aside, the lip was perfect. Over the last year and half the scar has retracted a bit, hence the slight curl. Obviously another trip to St. Thomas' doesn't fill us with excitement but it ought to be an in and out job, coming home the same day. Besides, he won't have it until he's four so it's all healed in time for his first day at school.

Over the last 6 months, we've obviously heard a marked improvement in Jake's speech and he has understanding of hundreds of words and will attempt to say them all too. Naturally some words come far more easily than others but I'm not sure how much of that is to do with the cleft and how much is to do with his only being 24 months old.

Either way, as predicted, he said virtually nothing at the speech session. He did make enough noise however for the therapist to seem pleased. The noises she could detect were being made with the front of the mouth and this is a good sign. 'P's, 'B's, and 'T's are the ones which cleft palate affected kids can struggle with so to hear they're pleased with how he's doing on those is great news.

After a long 7 month wait, our house renovations are almost complete. I obviously bored you with stories of the kitchen but have kept my silence as regards the rest since I swapped the mundane stuff over to the other James Fernie blog. Anyway the loft ought to be ready for habitation in another two weeks. I've said that exact line probably four times over the last two months but these things always take longer than anticipated. We were going to use the new room as our bedroom but really it's not big enough to accommodate our massive bed. It's a shame as we've suffered all the disruption, dust and endless streams of tradesman in the house for most of the year. So we've decided that it will firstly be the spare room; perfect for guests as our spare bed (currently in Jake's room) is a more modest 4 foot 6 and there's the new bathroom up there as well for their privacy. When in the future, hopefully, a little brother or sister arrives for Jake, we'll move him up there (again perfect for him to have his own bathroom) and stick the baby and spare bed back in what is currently Jake's bedroom.

There, I bet you're glad that's sorted!

Till next time....

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Blog Award. I got one!!

I just got awarded this. My natural cynicism made me think it was just a link-building bit of spam but it looks real enough. Anyway, it's my first award so whatever it is, I'm keeping it!

Medical Billing
Medical Billing

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Jake at 2

Well, not quite but in a couple of weeks or so Jake will celebrate his second anniversary of life. Of course, he's been a part of lives for even longer, since January 2008 in fact. Truly I can't really remember the time before Clare was pregnant or since Jake's been here. Obviously I remember stuff we did and places we went, but not on a day to day level. So much changes with your daily routine, but because it happens automatically, over time you just accept it. Friends without kids, still say 'come over one night next week' with no thought of what that entails. Firstly, it's impossible without a baby sitter and with a week's notice, that's always going to be tricky. Alternatively then, taking child to them involves a travel cot, getting there early enough to settle and in all probability involves child not actually going to bed due to excitement and unfamiliar surroundings and ultimately leads to stressful evening.

I've said before that I prefer my life now. Sure, there's much less (if any) drop-of-the-hat action, but there's also less boredom. Before you could decide what to do on a whim, but if that whim never came, when then? Often, nothing. Hence boredom. Now it's all (to an extent) planned. Clare seldom has a non-work day without anything planned for Jake. And similarly at the weekend, there will always be something in the diary. It's still nice to do nothing, but that nothing is planned and therefore welcomed.

Since I switched blogs, this one has been somewhat neglected. Jake's development settled more and there was less to report on a weekly basis, however the last couple of months have seen big changes in him. It's less obvious when you see it everyday - another good reason for keeping this going - but he's turning, week by week, into less of a toddler and more of a little boy. For the first time, I'm not hoping he'll get a bit older. Since he was born I looked forward to the next stage. When he could roll over, then sit up, then climb onto the sofa, then feed himself, then walk, then talk etc. Right now though, I think he's at a stage which has the perfect blend of cuteness and cognisance. So he can't form complete sentences but he and we know what he's saying and at the same time still has some babyish features. I'm still really looking forward to a proper conversation and all the football games I'll watch him play but for now, this is the perfect age and one I'd like to crystalise.

I cannot believe he's almost 2!

Thursday 13 May 2010

Cleft lip and palate

You may have just arrived here having seen my Google Ad. If so, perhaps you've just found out your baby will be born with a cleft. Or perhaps your baby was just born with a cleft lip and / or palate. Here's what to do:

1. Don't panic - you will be absolutely fine. I promise.
2. Go to the very first post of the blog - May 2008
3. Read and relax!

If you want any advice from someone who's been there and got the t-shirt, leave a comment or email me at jamesfernie at gmail dot com

Once again, you will come through this o.k, there's so many worse things that could have happened and your baby will be / is beautiful anyway. I don't mean to be flippant and perhaps you won't agree with me until you've been through it all but pretty soon you'll look back on how you're feeling right now and be able to see it all in context. If I can help, I will.

Good luck.

A new blog

It's been two years since I started writing this blog and I've loved doing it. For many reasons it's been a useful exercise. I won't cover them all but by far, the comments I've received from others in the same situation have been what's made it worthwhile. I'll keep it going on this address for all things Jake and cleft related but for everything else the new place in town is I've decided to install WordPress on one of our servers as it's much better (IMHO) than Blogger in terms of choice of design and its interface.

This blog is obviously supposed to be quite specific, a niche subject and all, and of late I've felt that telling you about my kitchen and the like is moving away from the subject. Perhaps it kept things more light hearted and helped bring some context to the whole cleft episode but I'd rather keep things separate.

So nothing's really changed, I'm just diversifying my ramblings.

No one really reads the crap I write anyway!