Tonight I sat down to research for more cleft lip and palate resources to share with fellow parents on Cleft Awareness. Lets just say if I can see through my tears to write this post, we will call it a good night. Maybe Caroline Mueller is right - I do seem to find the saddest stories online. It's almost as if there is a magnetic force that brings them to me.
In my search I came across a blog called Cleft Notes that offers a few good resources however, the real gem was a section called Families We'd Like to Introduce You To. In normal fashion I was digging through some of the families to read their stories. The first was Cami & Ezra, a California couple with two boys - one born with a cleft lip. Since they had something to offer me, I kept digging.
This is probably the error of my ways. I came across Jenny & Jack. Jack too was born with a unilateral cleft lip and bilateral cleft palate. As I read her recent post, I must never forget.- I was sucked deep down in a spiraling pit of sadness. Jack is a miracle. In addition to his cleft lip and palate he was born with many more serious illnesses and was not supposed to live, but he did. Within Jenny's post she shared stories that she too had come across.
And thus the beginning to the end of my night. She posted a video that was shared from Kara Faith. The story of a beautiful little girl who lived for just short 7 weeks. I cannot imagine the pain that her family must endure every day.
While I was watching the video about the loss of Kara Faith the song playing in the background was beautiful and lets be honest, music is always the dagger that jerks out the tears. So I began to dig to find out who wrote it. It turns out the song was wrote for Audrey Caroline, by her father Todd Smith, the lead singer of a gospel group, Selah. Unfortunately the Smith Family was not as lucky as Joe and I. Their doctors gave them the awful news that their baby girl would not live long past birth, or at all. Audrey lived for 2 and a half hours. Listening to her parents speak about how grateful they were for those 2.5 hours was so amazing. I cannot begin to fathom that feeling. You can watch their entire story here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
You still with me? Remember, I forewarned you of the sadness - do not blame me!
I truly believe the worst feeling in the world would be to let your child go much before their time. When we were first expecting Ella we conducted so many tests. We had decided that no matter what the tests showed, we were having Ella. That was until we were told of another test that checked for signs of rare chromosome diseases. If any of those results came back positive, there was a possibility Ella would not live a long, healthy life - or at all. While anxiously waiting for the test results, I was no longer firm in our decision to keep Ella. What if the results were positive? Would I really be able to be given the greatest gift in the world, to simply return her shortly after? To be honest - I can't answer that question and I am so thankful I don't have to, as the results showed an isolated cleft lip and palate.
After my "research" tonight - I am thankful. I am grateful for the gifts I have. I feel privileged to have a happy and healthy family.
We are truly blessed.
To end on a bright note because we all need some smiles, I will leave you with this. I love that kid.