Ava was diagnosed with a cleft lip and palate at 20 weeks gestation. As a first time parent, this was initially a very stressful experience.
The support that was put in place straight away by the cleft team was amazing. I had a home visit from the cleft nurse who went into detail about feeding a baby with a cleft. This really prepared me for when Ava arrived, making the experience less daunting.
Ava had her lip repair at three months old. Although this was a very emotional experience, the team were so supportive and I felt involved in the process the whole way through.
Doctor Hill is Ava’s surgeon and his work is remarkable. Seeing Ava straight after her surgery was like seeing her for the first time.
Support doesn’t stop after surgery. Ava attends the joint cleft lip and palate clinic every year, where she is assessed to ensure she is where she needs to be.
Speech issues are a common effect of cleft lip and palate. Before she started seeing Eilish, her speech therapist, Ava couldn’t form many words or sounds. Now after three years of speech therapy, Ava’s speech is above and beyond her peers.
I can’t thank the NI cleft service enough for the continuing support and care they have given Ava.