It’s late August and Arthur’s six months old, eating messy ‘solids’ and has had one lot of surgery on his lip. He’s doing well, putting on a quarter of a kilo last week. Let’s hope that rate of growth slows somewhat, eventually! He’s pictured on the right here with Lion, a genuine native Namibian, who chose to travel back to the UK with Arthur’s Grandpa Dave (Julie’s dad). On the left, below, he’s being bewildered by my brother Nathan on his cousin Florence’s play mat.
As I mentioned, Arthur has had one operation so far. This was to ‘pin’ the sides of his lips up to the middle part of his lip, and to start pulling that middle part back a little. It is preparatory surgery for his second operation, which has recently been retimed to mid October. The second operation will be more of a cosmetic one with the aim of connecting the lip muscles rather than just the skin. Once everything has calmed down, this should go some way towards looking like a ‘normal’ lip.
Further operations will be required to close the gap in his palate and possibly to pull back the gum and bone that sit behind the middle lip. The former should take place near his first birthday, as this will be necessary for speech development. The latter will probably happen just before school age, so I reckon he’ll be a bit goofy with his milk teeth until then!
All of this is being done on the NHS, whose South Thames Cleft Services have given us some excellent support. In other countries kids aren’t quite so lucky. You’ve probably seen the adverts for SmileTrain, a charity facilitating cleft repairs for those in countries without the facilities we get from the NHS.
Anyway, tonight sees him move out of our room and into his own bedroom, into the cot bed that could be his bed for the next four and a half years! Hopefully he’ll take to it well. We’ll see!