Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Tiny One

The team awoke Tuesday to the sound of loud thunder, and bright flashes of lightning punctuated breakfast.

Late Monday, a pediatrician from the NICU had come upstairs to ask our help with a baby born 10 days ago with a cleft lip and palate. The baby was having trouble feeding naturally due to the severity of his cleft. He was being fed through a nasal gastric feeding tube, but had to be weaned off it before he could be allowed to go home, and his young mother was afraid of doing anything wrong. Craniofacial speech physiologist Dr. Etoille LeBlanc met with the baby and her mother, and with a bottle and nipple specially designed for babies with cleft palates, taught mother and son how to feed. Within 24 hours, the baby was learning to suck the bottle and move his jaw. He progressed to the point where doctors were able to remove his nasal gastric feeding tube.

LeBlanc checked on them again Wednesday morning, and reported that he continues to improve. "You can tell he's better; he's much more alert," LeBlanc said. "It's really cool."

Tuesday's dinner was provided at the hospital; nobody made it back in time for the hotel's dinner.

On the fourth floor, where the surgeries take place, Tuesday was dominated by cleft palate surgeries. On Wednesday, the focus shifts toward cleft lips, which typically involves younger children.