The recovery process didn't go quite as well as the first surgery. Ella was not eating and very sad and cranky after the surgery. We struggled to get her to eat anything. We were told that in order to leave she had to drink a certain amount of liquid. Since she was so unhappy she didn’t meet the requirements. Joe thought that since she came close enough, we could take her home and figure it out from there. So, we packed up and came home. The moment we walked in the door she was a completely different child. She was happy and excited to be home and instantly got into her bouncy horse and went crazy.
Maybe it was the fact that the house was filled with family that she loves, but as soon as they all left the atmosphere changed again. She returned to her unhappy phase and refused to cooperate. We were once again struggling with no eating, no drinking and no sleeping. I was starting to panic that she was going to become dehydrated; wet diapers were few and far between. Since Ella refused to sleep through the night, my mom thought that I needed a break and came to help out.
Almost an entire week and a half after surgery was pretty painful for all involved. It was frustrating but I most of all I felt so awful for Ella and the pain she must have been going through because normally she is the toughest kid I know. We were beginning to worry that the experience may change her personality forever. Then, finally the day before I had to go back to work she turned over a new leaf and returned to her normal, happy and smiling self. We were so grateful to have her back and even more appreciative for just how special she is.
At the follow up appointment with our surgeon I understood why Ella might have been in so much pain during recovery. Even though Dr. Shehadi initially closed the palate, the gap was just too far and stretched to thin. Sadly, part of the palate tore open after the repair and a hole remains there today. I can’t imagine how painful that must have been for Ella at the time. I now completely understand her sour mood. Poor girl!
We thought we would need the palate repaired immediately in order to encourage normal speech development and prevent other issues however, we have been back to our surgeon a few times and at this time he thinks it’s OK to wait. We trust him so we will wait until then. We go back to Cleft Clinic in October where we will meet with the team and learn what our next plans of action are. As usual, the waiting game continues.