Cleft palates are rare among babies but they do exist. And cleft palate surgeries can be quite expensive but one mom made it a point to ensure that her baby has it as fast as possible so that the baby would be happy and healthy in time for Christmas.
“It wasn’t until Bella was born six months ago at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City that Frederick noticed something was strange. Bella had two very large gaps in the roof of her mouth - a condition known as a bilateral cleft palate,” according to Fox.
The defect is actually quite uncommon. Bella’s mother told Fox, “Oddly enough, when I had sent a friend a sonogram during pregnancy, [Bella] had covered her mouth, so we didn’t know. The first time I saw her, she was looking at my mom, and [my mom] said, ‘She has a growth.’ Everyone was shocked and a little emotional.”
Fox explains why the defect is considered quite serious, “Bilateral cleft palates occur in one out of every 6,500 births in the United States every year. If left untreated, babies with this abnormality can have trouble eating, swallowing, gaining weight, learning proper speech and may experience many other complications as well. Fortunately, the condition can be fixed through reconstructive surgery, so the doctors at Mount Sinai quickly discussed options with Frederick.”
The baby’s doctor explained what he did to help the baby; “We immediately set her up with our pediatric dentists, so they were able to build a little appliance for her. Before Bella could undergo surgery, she needed to be fitted with a prosthesis known as a palatal obturator. Similar to a dental retainer, the obturator slowly brings the pieces of the palate closer together, so that they are in a more ideal position for surgery. We take a mold of the upper jaw and the nose and lip that’s affected and fabricate a special appliance. The baby comes back within a few days, and we deliver the appliance and make adjustments and the baby wears the appliance full time. It helps the baby feed better and exert less energy to feed in the meantime.”