It’s been almost two years since I shared an update on our miraculous baby boy, Andrew Bradley, who is not so much a “baby” anymore. When I last shared, he was eight months old. At that time, he had sailed on through the taping of his cleft lip, followed by his lip adhesion and his full lip repair. Ear tubes were necessary at the time he received his lip adhesion at three months old, and that pair of tubes continued to look great when checked at the time of his lip repair surgery. Pretty much, for the first year of Andrew’s life, he met his developmental milestones as expected.
In addition to his cleft, we were also informed within the first month of Andrew’s life that he had a hole in his heart; a Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD. I remember at the time it was discovered, it felt similar to the weight of the world crushing down on us. Andrew’s cardiologist informed us that Andrew’s VSD was relatively small, however, with the location of the hole, she was certain that it would not close on its own. We were also informed that it was a possibility that even if problems did not arise within the first year, that it would be possible that it could be necessary to operate later on in his life.
At this point, as his mother, I had some of the worst thoughts rushing through my mind. Would he grow? Is he breathing okay daily? Will his surgeries necessary for cleft repair even be possible? Is he going to need open heart surgery (that was a scary one!)? Will he be able to navigate through his life just as any other child? WHAT CAN WE DO?
So, we did the only things possible:
2. LOVED him with more love than we knew could ever exist.
And yet again, a miracle was shown to us through our miracle son. Just before Andrew’s first birthday at his regular cardiology appointment, his doctor entered the room following his echocardiogram and spoke these words:
“I don’t know how this happened. This should not have happened.” Thankfully, she quickly followed this with, “The hole in his heart has closed on its own,” or I may have fallen to the floor. Our prayers were answered in a way we did not even realize was possible. God is so good and Andrew is a miracle that has been given to us.
From here, we moved on to his cleft palate repair when he was fourteen months old. Our cleft team had been preparing us for this surgery from the time of birth. So, we had an idea of what to expect, but we also were informed that every child gets through it differently. His plastic surgeon prepared us by letting us know that Andrew’s palate could possibly require donor skin because his cleft was so wide. We also knew that it would be possible that a hole could form in his palate during healing, resulting in the need for further repair. Thankfully, neither of these occurred. His palate repair surgery went smoothly, even though the hours it took to complete seemed like days to us as we waited for him to be moved to recovery following surgery. The hospital stay was longer than any we had experienced thus far. His healing was long and tedious: only liquids, no hard objects that could go in the mouth, arm “no-no’s” to restrain him from putting his hands or anything else in his mouth. We got through it. His palate healed fantastically. He passed his hearing test, following new tubes being placed during the time of his palate repair surgery.