Dad Overcomes ‘Darkest Moments’ When Baby Born With Cleft Palate Smiles After Surgery

April 20, 2019 Updated: April 25, 2019

What does it feel like for new parents who find out their newborn has a cleft palate? A dad in Texas has provided a glimpse into what he went through, and though he admits the journey was emotionally tough, he nevertheless feels greatly rewarded.

It was supposed to be nothing but joy for Matt Martin and his wife, Sara, when they welcomed their twin babies on April 3, 2018. But they got worried when they saw their second son, Cam, at birth.

Cam had a cleft lip and palate, which means that his gum, upper lip, and bones of his upper jaw were split.

“These first few days were full of mixed emotions,” Matt shared with Love What Matters. “Overwhelming love for these two that just came into our family, and fear for everything we didn’t know about Cam’s future.”

After staying in the NICU for a few days, Cam was soon given the green light to go home, and the couple later made an appointment with a plastic surgeon to have Cam’s mouth and lip rebuilt.

Baby Cam was fitted with a mouthpiece, known as a NAM, to cover his palate and stretch out the irregular area for the first of his three surgeries.

“The mouthpiece had little balls that were fitted into Cam’s nostrils to stretch out the skin between his nose and mouth,” Matt told SWNS. “We had to go in every week for them to adjust it. We hated seeing Cam in pain and we did wonder whether we were doing the right thing.”

On July 25, 2018, Cam had his surgery. When the operation was over, he was screaming.

“They had him on morphine and his face was swollen and bruised and bloody,” Matt said. “It was like we had been given back a different baby.”

Seeing Cam’s face, it broke the couple’s heart.

“I hated knowing that something we had chosen, the operation, had caused so much pain for our son,” Matt said.

Fortunately, Cam soon recovered and smiled an adorable smile for his touched and relieved parents—for the very first time—with a full upper lip.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Matt recalled. “In my darkest moments, I thought I’d never see him smile with a healed top lip but here he was beaming at me.”

While the first few months following Cam’s birth were difficult, Matt feels blessed.

“Having a cleft baby is difficult at times and it’s terrifying to go into the unknown, but it really is so rewarding,” he wrote.

And regardless of the baby’s condition, a parent will love their child.

“You fall in love with your baby and it doesn’t matter whether they have a cleft palate or not,” Matt said.