August 12, 2016
August 12, 2016
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Luciana’s cleft lip and palate was discovered at 7 months in utero. Her OBGYN did not tell her what to expect, and the pediatrician who was supposed to consult with her at the hospital after birth never came. She was told that she would never be able to feed Luciana from the breast, and was given a syringe for feeding.

Fortunately, someone from her religious group referred her to a cleft lip and palate support group in Tuxtla, who referred her to an orthodontist in San Cristobal.  He placed a NAM (nasal aveolar molding) device to artificially and temporarily close the palate, which significantly improved feeding. The Tuxtla cleft palate support group was also instrumental in educating her about best feeding practices.

Before Luciana’s cleft lip surgery with the Cuellars and ConnectMed team on March 17th, Cynthia was able to have personal consultations with the visiting speech therapists and the orthodontist.

Cynthia feels lucky because she was referred to the right people to find proper care for her daughter.  She wants other moms to know that they can and should continue searching for medical care instead of allowing themselves to feel embarrassed by their children’s conditions.  Friends and family members often make parents feel ashamed of their children’s deformities.

Too many moms feel embarrassed, resigned to their “fate” and don’t seek care at all.  Cynthia knows of one other girl with a cleft palate who is 5 years old and had surgery, but she did never had a NAM device or received speech therapy so she is impossible to understand. She urges parents to be patient and make sure to follow through with all the surgeries and the consultations with orthodontists and speech therapists.