Cleft Lip – Part 1 Pregnancy & Birth

So January 2012 I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2….

We confirmed dates with the Dr and then told close family.  A couple of weeks later I had the house to myself so decided on a mid afternoon bubble bath.  While it was running I sat at the computer when I felt a gush. Only being around 7wks gone I knew it had to be blood so took myself off to the bathroom whilst phoning the OH at work.  Phoned the hospital who got me to come in and see the consultant.  On the way to hospital I had passed a large clot, and that couple with my cervix being open about 1cm, the consultant told us that I had had a miscarriage and I would be kept in overnight and scanned in the morning to check if I needed a procedure to remove any leftover pregnancy matter.  I had a lovely nurse looking after me who gave me a big cuddle, made sure I was fed and watered before settling me down for the night with tissues and blankets.  The next morning OH came back and off we went for the scan to be told that baby was there with a healthy heartbeat! Also no indication of what had caused my bleed or clot.  I walked back into the ward a touch shocked with my scan pic in hand, my lovely nurse was still on duty and as she saw me let out a happy squeal and gave me another cuddle and instructions to go home and take it easy.


4wks to the day passed and I was sitting on the floor pairing up socks (funny the random info that sticks in the mind) and there was that gush once again followed with clots.  Back to hospital I went and saw a different consultant who got a nurse to examine the clots I had passed, the good news was there was no pregnancy matter in the clots bad news I had to wait until the following morning again for a scan.  This consultant was a lot more positive, he did not think it was a miscarriage but could not confirm without the scan.  Another night spent in hospital and thankfully once again baby was still there with a healthy heartbeat!


2wks later I had my ‘first’ scan at 13wks, all fine.  Had my 20wk scan and all fine. OH was not at this scan and after looking at the picture was convinced there was something wrong with the mouth or chin.  I could see where he was coming from but had been told all was well.  I also had a growth scan at 34wks as I had a low bmi (i could write a whole other blog entry on how it’s no fun being a size 6), again all was fine.


At 40+5 I eventually went into labour at 1am, nice wee contractions at 7mins apart for 1hr, had a little bit of blood at this point so called the hospital who said could I possibly call back in 5mins as she was just discharging someone.  Yes no problem.  I hung up the phone and all of a sudden my contractions are 1min apart and I can’t talk with the sheer agony of them.  OH called the hospital and my parents (my dad was talking our son back to their house and mum was driving us to hospital).  It is usually a 25-30min drive to the hospital but we managed it in 15mins and we all thought this baby was coming in the car! As we eventually found our way to the ward with the help of a wheelchair (i could barely stand!) and said to the midwife baby coming now! Don’t be silly she said let’s get you you into triage and see where you are.  Got on to the bed (and contractions were around 30secs apart by this point) she helped remove my pj bottoms and said to my mum press that big red button behind you (yes that was the emergency button) and she started shouting for a delivery kit cos baby was coming now! At 2.28am I had our baby boy.


They had warned me that they were taking him away to clean his mouth as he had had a poo whilst I was labouring (just like his big brother).  Just as they brought him back into the room the midwife said to us “oh I take it you know baby has a cleft lip”.  Eh no and what a nice way to tell us! I was then told that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and I would need to wait for a special bottle to be able to feed him.  I was told that they would phone a specialist team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids in Glasgow (Yorkhill as it’s better known) at 9am and someone would come and see us from there.


Come 9am I had managed to express a few mls of milk and syringe feed the wee man, one of the midwives came in and told me a nurse from Yorkhill was coming to see me at 5pm.  I kept expressing what I could and syringe feeding until then. 5pm came and I met Jenny our cleft specialist nurse.  She checked our wee man’s mouth and told us his palate was intact and he had an incomplete bilateral cleft lip and gum notches.  So it basically meant he had 2 splits in his top lip but as it was incomplete it did not go right up to his nose.  She told me he would have an operation to repair his lip between 3 and 5months old and because he had gum notches he might need a bone graft when he is older (usually done 8-10yrs of age depending on the adult teeth).  She then showed me how to work the special bottle (in our case a Vital Baby soft bottle that you can squeeze should baby need help through lack of suction).  After that it was a look through a book of other patients with before and after surgery pictures to get an idea of how he would look once he had had his operation.  We spent the night in hospital as they wanted to make sure I could feed him, and eventually got home the next evening. We got wee man number 1 up to the hospital as soon as possible to see his wee brother, at only 3yrs old we didn’t know how to explain the cleft to him so we didn’t say anything until he asked why his brother had a funny lip (his words)? I kept it as basic as I could saying it’s called a cleft lip and he was born with it as his lip didn’t join up in mummy’s tummy and that after Christmas he would have a trip to hospital to make it look like our lips.



Please keep following next week for part 2!

For more information on cleft lip and palate please visit Clapa (cleft lip and palate association) at