A smile is your own facial signature with each one being unique and is often the first thing another will focus on when looking at your face. What happens when your smile is not like others? For thousands of children and adults their smile is affected by a cleft. Matthew was one of those babies born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and this is his story.
Matthew came into the world on a warm afternoon in August 2009 with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate.
His cleft was on the severe side and it quickly became apparent that the simple things that most take for granted would be a challenge. Feeding Matthew was a challenge as he didn’t have the oral structure needed to suck from the breast or bottle. He met with a team of specialists who from the day he was born created a treatment plan. This plan included weekly hospital visits, weekly dental visits, an oral appliance (NAM-nasoalveolar molding device), and hearing tests which all led up to his first surgery, his lip repair in December 2009. During the 4.5 hour surgery his plastic surgeon fused the muscles in his lip, joined the three segments of his cleft together, lifted and shaped his flattened nose. For the first time in his life, Matthew no longer had a cleft lip. His wide smile was no longer and his new smile would be one that people wouldn’t stare at negatively or with pity. Matthew started puréed foods at 6 months old like other babies his age. With Matthew’s cleft palate he would often choke and aspirate the food that had entered his nasal cavity. We stayed away from hard cereals or other typical teething food as pieces could and sometimes would get lodged along the side of his nasal passage. Matthew did continue to have speech therapy and frequent dental care until his palate repair in September 2010 where the same plastic surgeon closed the gaping hole in his palate.
Matthew still has years of treatment which include bone grafting, orthodontic, and other facial surgeries but until then he is a thriving three year old who loves reading books, playing with his siblings, and most of all playing with his trains. Matthew’s determination, will, and spirit continue to inspire those who work with him. ~post written by Amanda L. Matthew’s Mom!
With your donation of $24, 100% will go towards operation smile, to help repair other children across the world! You will receive 1, desk size print or a headshot image. Can I count on your support April 4-April 6, 2013? Please book your session time at www.christinaparkerphotography.com