Hope had her surgery to repair her open palate last week. I regret that I never got a good picture of her palate before the surgery. This picture gives a glimpse of what it looked like.
The surgeon said that the severity of Hope's palate on a scale of 1 - 10 was a 10. We knew she had a severe cleft, but that confirmed it. In order to fix her palate, the surgeon scraped out the tissue from inside Hope's cheeks and used that to create a palate. The surgery was scheduled to take 4 hours, but it lasted 5. Hope was scheduled for surgery to start at noon, which was a little difficult since it meant she couldn't eat at all that morning. We learned later that the surgeon schedules his more complicated surgeries for later in the day so that if the surgery goes late, he doesn't get behind schedule with the rest of his surgeries. Here are some pictures from before the surgery.
Hope in her hospital gown:
Reading to Hope to keep her distracted:
Daddy wearing the surgical cap to encourage Hope to put it on:
Obviously the hardest part of the day was post-surgery. She spent 2 hours in post-op trying to keep her oxygen levels steady. They couldn't send us up to her room until she was able to keep her oxygen levels above 90 on her own. She was so swollen and clearly in pain. I was able to get her to stop crying by singing her favorite songs to her.
After 2 hours in post-op we were sent to our room. We were allowed to be admitted onto the oncology floor since neither Hope or us had been sick in the last two weeks (our other three kids were a different matter). They are very strict about who is allowed on that floor, which was a blessing for us since it meant that Hope most likely would not be exposed to unnecessary germs that are prevalent in the hospital. The night was long and Hope did not sleep much. Mike went home to get a good night sleep so he would be well rested and could relieve me the next day. The hospital released us at 11:00am the next morning even though Hope wasn't taking liquids yet. It made me nervous, but it ended up OK.
This is Hope and I right before we went home:
Right now Hope is on an all-liquid diet until March 9. On March 9, she will be able to eat soft foods. We are really looking forward to that. Poor Hope is really wanting to eat. Overall, we are pleased with how everything has gone and it is a relief to have the surgery behind us. Thankfully, it should be several years before her next big surgery!