This morning I took Zihao, Azlan, Azahria and Izrael to the dentist. It was for 8am sharp and this NON-morning-Mama made it on time and without coffee! ;)
Azlan has severe dental staining due to being on oral antibiotic for a year. Now that we are off that hopefully we'll see extreme improvement.
Azlan, Izrael and Azahria were all cavity free. Zihao, being his first dental, of course we knew otherwise. He was so cute. All brave until he popped into that chair and I've never seen him so tense! His hands were splayed apart, though I was holding one and the tears were streaming down his cheeks. They were just counting his teeth but he was really scared :( Poor baby.
His "cleft" tooth is totally decayed and actually needs to be pulled. The not so good side of this is that that tooth is really important for bone growth as they will do bone grafting down the road. But...with a decayed tooth and root, there is no bone growth happening and actually a risk of infection :( He has a mouthful of cavities but the good news is ... he will need 1 pulled, 1 capped and the rest are fill-able.
Izrael popped into the chair, put the sunglasses on and opened her mouth wide! Then the dentist looked in and she shrilled at the top of her lungs ! ;)
Azahria was good to go with perfect little chompers.
Oh...Azlan. We were told in Seattle Children's from the time he was born...he is the most severe of a cleft you can have without being bilateral (2 sides). He was so wide. Yes he looks amazing now but it was extreme.
His teeth are a mess. Zihao's are beautiful in comparison and Taizi's are almost a non issue! He had a very minor cleft though it did extend to the nose.
The shock with Azlan's teeth came from the xray.
His 2 front teeth...well one is coming in at a perfect 90 degree angle. In other words...completely sideways instead of front on. Yes his front tooth :( Though his baby teeth are straight...the adult one..the one that matters...is crazy.
Then it appears as though he is missing at least 2 adult teeth on the upper jaw. These are not back molars either...but very visible teeth.
I smiled and the dentist was very warm and sincere and said how well I was handling it.
I came home with a lump in my throat that won't go away.
Upset? No. Scared? No. Frustrated? No.
It's my child. I've fought for him from that first heartbeat I saw on ultrasound at 6 weeks gestation. I will fight to the end. He gets bullied and it breaks my heart. He's sheltered...and he gets bullied. Sunday School (plenty) and the playground. Not sure how you would like to have a front tooth completely, totally end-on...but that's not going to be pretty...or comfortable. :( Yes they will fix it. Down the road.
Can you imagine being born 100 years ago and having these teeth that there was no hope for...? Talk about life-altering.
Talking about bullying...the other day the kids were talking to my friend and neighbor's kids over the fence. One of her little boys (about 4y) was listening away to Azlan tell a story. Finally he said "I don't have a clue what you just said, but you sure are cute!!". I laughed so hard, it was the cutest thing ever. He never made fun of how he was talking, he never laughed at him, but said this and I looked at Azlan who instantly smiled and said "that was cute that he just said that to me".
Soooo...there we are.
I'm not hyper sensitive...but I am when it comes to people saying how a cleft affected child is "hardly a special need as it's only cosmetic! Sew it up and you are done!". With all due respect, our child will have a lifetime of therapy and help to live a life where he's able to communicate with those around him b/c of his cleft lip and palate. It's not "merely cosmetic" and though I'm fully aware he is a severe case...it is indeed a special need that he's not growing out of.
And I would do it all over again (clearly). That boy changed my heart forever and every bump in the road is worth it.
Just a few nights ago, when tucking the kids in bed, we talked about Heaven.
I was saying how Taizi will walk, talk and hear and they were all spell-bound. Suddenly Azlan piped up and said "wait...I won't have a cleft lip...? And I can hear? And I will talk like everyone else....?" And he was sparkling. Yes. As much as I think perfection is that cleft lip and that scar that will forever tell your story...true perfection won't include microtia, or deafness, or speech issues.
In a random moment while we were talking, Chazano piped up and said "will the castles be made of Azlan's special shiny tooth?" and I prayed with them all through my laughter at the thought. Azlan has a silver cap on his tooth and clearly this is wealth and what he dreams of a castle being. Stainless steel? Won't be there. If the streets are made of gold....can you only imagine what everything else...?
Yes, we talk about Heaven a lot. This really is just the prep room for eternity and our children know it. Our eyes are fixed on Heaven and we cannot wait.