Now Vivienne, on the eve of six-years-old, is doing wonderfully. She has many friends, is happy, and is thriving in school. She doesn’t have negative memories of her surgeries — in fact, she loves going to the doctor and wants to be a doctor herself. She still receives speech therapy, and she has come a long way with her speech. One of her big issues was eating, combined with severe acid reflux, and those issues have largely resolved. She is more adventurous with food and loves to help in the kitchen. She is petite but has remained on her growth curve. Her older brother has been a great support to Vivienne and has developed into an empathetic and generous young man. Our family has truly come together through this, and we appreciate the little things in ways we may have overlooked before.
When we found out Vivienne had a cleft, we were scared of what her future would hold. We encountered some negative medical professionals and insensitive people who told us the worst-case scenarios and predicted dire outcomes for Vivienne due to the size of her cleft and the fact she had a G-tube. There were days that felt so bleak. However, we overcame that — I read many “success stories” like the ones on the ACPA website, I consulted the family resources page on Cleftline, I became my child’s best advocate, I took the advice that helped and ignored the rest, I surrounded myself with positive people as much as possible, and I believed in the best for Vivienne and our family. We cultivated a hopeful spirit, which benefitted us during the challenging times and continues to benefit us now. Vivienne has helped us learn to focus on the beauty around us and believe in the best for everyone — what a gift!