Having your first child changes your whole world in many different ways. You will feel an unconditional love like you’ve never felt before, while secretly hoping that everything will work out for the best for your little one.
There was lots for new mum Sara Heller to consider when she welcomed her first baby a little boy named Brody. When she reached the 24 week mark during her pregnancy doctors discovered something about their unborn baby.
Sara’s ultrasound indicated that Brody had an especially severe lip and cleft palate. Brody’s gap went all the way from the lip to the nose.
Naturally his parents were concerned when they saw the scan pictures, however they made a decision to do something entirely different about their son’s diagnosis.
The doctors said that there were only 9 cases like Brody’s in the world.
“They asked us if we wanted to keep the pregnancy,” dad Chris Eidam explains.
However this couple were adamant that they would have their baby. Sara wanted to change the way people look at children with lip and cleft palates.
“It is OK to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances. We wanted to change what ultrasound/newborn/first year pictures on our Facebook/Instagram accounts looked like. We wanted to spread awareness of cleft lips and palates,” the mom remarks.
During the second and third month of pregnancy the fetus’s face develops and the different facial parts grow together.
In teh U.S about 2,650 babies are born each year with some type of lip-, jaw- or cleft palates. Experts are trying to determine why this occurs, family genetics play a role in about one-fifth of the affected children.
When born with cleft palates children often undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to learn to eat and talk. Sara and Chris, weren’t able to afford an operation, and were determined to change people’s perceptions of lip and cleft palates.
After uploading images of her son Sara has received many insensitive comments on Instagram. One person wrote: “What’s wrong with his face?”
Sara wasn’t just shocked about the comment, but she wasn’t prepared to have to defend her son’s appearance while he was just a newborn baby.
Sara explains: “I decided to educate rather than create a confrontation because that is what I want Brody to do in the future, I will want him to educate, to be an advocate for younger cleft kids who don’t have their own voice yet,” Sara explains.
However, not all encounters have been negative. Sara was out for dinner with Brody and some of her friends recently. Sara’s server snuck something onto the table that looked like a napkin when they had finished eating. Sara was shocked to discover it was a folded up check.
The mom could hardly believer her eyes when she was handed a check for USD $1,000 along with a note; ‘For your beautiful baby’.
This kind and thoughtful gesture brought tears to Sara’s eyes.
“Tears fell from my eyes immediately and the happiness my heart felt is indescribable,” Sara says.
The gift helped Sara and Chris pay for some of Brody’s healthcare costs.
Since Brody’s condition does require extra care — as cleft lips and a cleft palate can make it harder for a baby to eat, drink, smile, talk, and sometimes even breathe — Sara and Chris put the money towards Brody’s medical expenses and the surgeries needed to correct his condition.
Brody’s latest operation helped repair his lip and he is healing well but but has a long road ahead of him as he will require more surgery between 9 and 12 months old
Eventually Brody will be able to eat and talk in the future thanks to surgeons. Meanwhile, both parents are very grateful for the kind gesture they received.
A simple gesture from a stranger has made a big difference to this family, as they need all the support they can get! The future looks bright for this little boy.
Brody’s parents know there’s more to a child than just the way they look and obstacles are meant to be overcome.
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