Christy Lilley

When Your Delivery Surprise Is A Birth Defect

Christy's now-20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip — a delivery surprise that Christy says seemed devastating at the time. i i

Christy's now-20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip — a delivery surprise that Christy says seemed devastating at the time. Courtesy of Christy Lilley hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Christy Lilley
Christy's now-20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip — a delivery surprise that Christy says seemed devastating at the time.

Christy's now-20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip — a delivery surprise that Christy says seemed devastating at the time.

Courtesy of Christy Lilley

I've been a worrier for as long as I can remember. It's just who I am — I worry about anything and everything to the point of obsession.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started worrying about whether the baby would be healthy. Our 20-month-old son, James, was born with a cleft lip, so I worried that this baby would have one, too — or something even worse.

We didn't know about James' lip until the moment he was born. After nearly three hours of pushing, the first thing the doctor said after the birth was, "I don't want to alarm you, but ..."

Those are the last words you want to hear.

About Christy

Christy Lilley, 32, lives in Charlotte, N.C. Already the parents of a toddler, she and her husband, Jim, welcomed Diana Marie on July 7.

It was a complete shock, and at the time seemed absolutely devastating. It took away from the first few moments we had with our son, and completely changed the whole birth experience as I had imagined it in my mind.

If we had known James would be born with a cleft lip, I could have been more prepared. I would have done research and known more about treatment, and how having a cleft lip would affect him. Knowing about his lip would have eliminated the extreme shock I experienced upon learning that my baby had a birth defect in the delivery room.

James has since had his lip repaired, and now it all seems like a distant memory. But it was an experience I hope I never have to repeat.

With this baby, I absolutely wanted to know what was in store for us before delivery. In the beginning of the pregnancy, I worried myself sick thinking about her lip. We were sent to a high-risk OB for very detailed ultrasounds of her face and lips.

A detailed ultrasound of Christy's daughter — shown with light hitting her forehead — has eased some of Christy's concerns over the delivery. i i

A detailed ultrasound of Christy's daughter — shown with light hitting her forehead — has eased some of Christy's concerns over the delivery. Courtesy of Christy Lilley hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Christy Lilley
A detailed ultrasound of Christy's daughter — shown with light hitting her forehead — has eased some of Christy's concerns over the delivery.

A detailed ultrasound of Christy's daughter — shown with light hitting her forehead — has eased some of Christy's concerns over the delivery.

Courtesy of Christy Lilley

I was a nervous wreck on the day of our first ultrasound. I was shaking with fear during the exam, and could hardly look as the technician zeroed in on her face.

While we can't be 100 percent certain until she is born, the prognosis looks very good. Her lip looks great on ultrasound, and none of the doctors have seen anything of concern.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

About