Mia’s cleft lip and how her parents coped.
As noted earlier this week, I’m passing on some details now about Small Mia, as opposed to Tiny Mia and Big Mia. Since it’s instructive to those new to cleft lips and palates—especially parents of cleft-afflicted babies–I’ll highlight how Mia and her parents handled the initial news about her clefts and reacted to her early surgeries. Mia’s parents, Jase and Missy Robertson of the hit show Duck Dynasty’s, had to oversee the closure of the two clefts (splits) in her lip and her palette (roof of her mouth).
What better person to tell Mia’s early story than her mom, Missy, who wrote on the recently launched website, miamoo.org, “When Mia was born we were living paycheck to paycheck and we decided to go into debt in order to receive the best possible care for our child. “
Miamoo.org is designed to raise money via the Mia Moo Fund to alleviate the financial burden other families feel when confronted with oral facial disorders in their kids.
According to Mia’s mom, Jase & I learned that Mia had a cleft lip and possible cleft palate at 31 weeks gestation, thanks to a 4-D ultrasound. We were able to prepare ourselves and our boys, as best as we knew how, for a few weeks before she was born at 37 weeks gestation”
Continuing the story from Christian Post, Missy writes:
‘Mia Elaine Robertson was born on September 12, 2003, with a bilateral cleft lip and palate… [I]t was through a mutual friend, we met a family in our area who had a son born with this same condition just a few months before Mia. This family lead us to the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas, Texas, where we traveled when Mia was 17 days old. They checked her from head to toe and fitted her with a palatal appliance in order to give a “fake roof” to her mouth.
This helped tremendously in the feeding process as it aided in allowing her milk to travel down her throat instead of out her nose. We did our best to fatten her up over the next few weeks in order to get her healthy enough for her first surgery, correction of the cleft lip.
[Cleft lip surgery at 3 months.]
At 3 months old, Mia underwent her first corrective surgery. Jase and I were prepared to physically take care of our daughter, but we were not prepared emotionally as to how different she would look after this surgery. We had fallen in love with that sweet face for 3 months and were not prepared for the swelling and stitches that we saw in the recovery room. It was a very emotional time.
Our baby looked so different, and we actually wondered if it would have been better if we had chosen not to put her through the surgery. In just a couple of days, the swelling diminished entirely, and we soon realized that this indeed was the best thing to do for our child. … Mia healed quickly, and we continued to prepare her for the next surgery.
[Palate repair at 7 months.]
She had palate correction surgery at 7 months old. After having her palatal appliance cleaned 3-5 times a day for 7 months, Mia now had her own natural palate. She was a happy baby who loved her mama and hardly ever wanted to be away from me. This is extremely common with babies who need so much medical attention. No worries. I took her to work with me at Duck Commander, and she played on the floor and with her Mamaw Kay while we worked.’
Missy brings Mia’s story up to the present in my next blog.