Monday, January 26, 2009

NAM Progression in Pictures

I realized that I never did a post about his NAM, considering I had started blogging when he was close to the end of that journey. It was a hard but beneficial path. The constant taping and arm restraints was difficult, the weekly appointments were exhausting at times, the constant questions in public were tiring, but for now I believe that it was the right choice since we were able to have his lip, palate and gum surgery done in one procedure. We pray that this means we have eliminated the need for the bone graft surgery when he is 8-9 years old.

Aiden's birthday, March 3, 2008. He was born at home and then transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center for evaluation. His cleft was unknown to us before his birth and it was a whirlwind of events from that day forward.3 days old in the NICU. He was receiving half of his feedings by g-tube since he wasn't taking to the nipples very well.At 10 weeks old he started the whole NAM process. He should have started by the time he was 10 days old, but because of an outbreak of thrush that would not go away, and major miscommunication between his plastic surgeon and the orthodontist, we got off to a late start.This was on the way home from his first appointment when they placed the NAM. The nasal stints would be added the following week. We had to learn quickly how to tape the NAM in and across the lip. (Tape is too loose on his lip here but we slowly became experts).Little guy had a hard time in the first days since he had gotten used to following asleep with a binkie. He eventually learned to use his NAM as a binkie.He has been wearing the NAM now for a month. The progress already is amazing.Being able to get enough tummy time was hard because he would loose his head control and bang his face down in the ground, which hurt with the NAM in.Daddy munched the NAM with his knee when he had had it for about 6 weeks. This gave him a week long vacation while they fabricated a new one. He loved his NAM freedom but it was very short lived, although Daddy's guilt trip will never end.We eventually had to get 'no nos' for Aiden because he like to pull out his NAM. I think the no nos were worse for him then the NAM and all of it's taping. He missed his freedom.Wearing the NAM now for 3 months. Notice how close together the lip is now. Even though we had a hard time keeping the lip tape on since he drooled SO much, the lips really did come together.He learned a new trick, he could flip his NAM out with his tongue. His orthodontist had never seen such a thing before. Then again he was the oldest baby she had ever had that still had the NAM in.He was (and still is) one of the happiest little guys. No matter what life throws at him he responds with laughter.Close up of how great the lips are coming together.Here he is with the lip tape on but the NAM not put in yet.Might be hard for some to see, but his gumline is almost touching if you look close enough. By this point he had the NAM in for almost 4 months.This picture was taken at his last adjustment. He had fallen in love with his orthodontist and she referred to herself as his 'girlfriend.' We shared many laughs and many tears along the way and were both pleased by the results.We had his pictures taken professionally the day before his surgery. Who wouldn't miss this adorable wide smile? I had taken his picture professionally every month and I am glad that I had taken a lot of pictures so I can remember this part of his journey in life.On the morning of surgery he was oblivious to the events of the day and as happy as ever. At this point we were still not sure how much they were going to be able to do with his surgery but we were scheduled to do the nose, lip, palate, and hopefully the gumline. (Ear tubes were also put in).First picture out of surgery. It was hard to see his new face and I instantly missed his old smile and started falling in love with his new face. 24 hours after surgery he was already trying out his new smile.1 week post-op, stitches came out of his lip but the nose stints stayed in.2 weeks post op, everything has been removed and we finally see Aiden without a bunch of tape, stitches or anything on his face.1 month post op. The scar is looking great, but we are warned that it could start pulling or knotting up as it heals.2 months post op. We noticed a little bit of a knot, but the scar still looks awesome and people can not believe how great he looks. Some even argue with me that there is no way he ever had a cleft to begin with. :)3 months post op. There is still some swelling in his nose, but the scar looks like it has healed wonderfully.

10 months old.


  1. Wow....what a great post..How awesome to see his progression!!
    He has always been a cutie!!!!

  2. That is awesome to see that transformation. We never used the NAM, but I do think it is absolutely amazing. And Aiden's lip looks so good. What a handsome little dude!

  3. Thanks for this post, Joy. I always love to see the transformation of our little cleft friends, what a sweetie!

  4. I just keep thinking, look at those beautiful blue eyes!
    That was really neat to see his progression.
    Thanks for sharing that!

  5. Hi Joy,
    I found your blog off of your comment. Thank you for sharing your story and your kind words. Just knowing that someone else has gone before me helps so much. Here is my personal blog if you're interested