Meeting My Cleft Nurse Jayne Tomlinson

nhs logoToday I had a visit from Jayne Tomlinson from the Cleft Lip and Palate Team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this visit so yesterday I posted in the CLAPA support group on Facebook and I had some wonderful replies about how good they are and how at ease they make you feel, and explain things properly to you.

Jayne was truly lovely and she explained everything from the beginning in an easy to follow way.  She also said she would tell me everything I needed to know and to assume that Frankie would be born with a cleft palate as well as his cleft lip, as 2/3rds of babies born with a cleft lip will be born with a cleft palate.  She took things slowly and let me ask as many questions as possible, including questions about how long I would be in hospital when he’s born, would he be born in Worcester or Birmingham, how quickly he’ll be looked at after he’s born and how long each operation he’ll have to have will be and what his recovery time/prognosis is.  She really put my mind at rest and while no parent wants to think of their babies having to go through surgery, I know that it is but a short few hours in his life and Frankie won’t even remember it as he’ll be so young.

I was also relived to find out that I’ll be able to have him in Worcester and not Birmingham, which was something the specialist I saw at Birmingham Women’s Hospital indicated, as there are no other problems with him or my pregnancy apart from the cleft.  I guess they have to tell you the worst possible case scenario so you are fully prepared.

Feeding him is going to be a bit more challenging, and we’ll have no idea just how challenging it will be until he’s actually born, but she did leave me with some special bottles and teats that I have to take into hospital with me in case the palate is affected as well.  It will be a double job for me if he does have a cleft palate as I’ll have to express and then feed him, as he won’t be able to latch on and breastfeed properly, but I think that as long as I can express and feed him my milk I can do as much of that as possible and my husband and parents can help with the actual feeding, which will be great as they can get more involved in his care and feeding which they wouldn’t normally do if he was latched on and breastfeeding properly.  So even that isn’t the end of the world, and it may be we have to experiment with different positions for feeding Frankie but for us and him we won’t know any different.

I have another scan at Birmingham Women’s Hospital next Monday, and a 4D scan booked at Babyvision Ltd on Wednesday 6th November.  After that it is just a case of waiting until he’s born to find out more.  I have to be looked at again in mid-December at the Worcestershire Royal but that’s because my placenta is a bit low, and if it hasn’t moved by then it might be that Frankie has to be born by caesarean section.  But as long as he comes into the world safely I really don’t mind how he’s born.  I’m not even going to think about a birth plan as such until I know what’s happening with the placenta.  If I do have him naturally then I will try to have him without much if any intervention, with just the use of gas and air, but if it gets too much then I will have an epidural, but only as a last resort.  My gut feeling is that due to my low lying placenta I’ll be booked in for a caesarean, but time will tell.

So I just want to say a huge thank you to Jayne for her time today, and for putting my mind even more at ease, and for the bottles and teats that I need to take into the hospital.  One of my questions for her was should I order some from CLAPA just in case he has a cleft palate, and she brought some with her.

I guess I’m just that little bit too organised and prepared!

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