My Life : The Hardest Day of My Life


I could feel the tears welling up and quickly told myself to think of something else.  I didn’t want the other customers in the line to wonder why this girl suddenly started crying, the line wasn’t that long to wait in!  What they didn’t know was that that I was finally having to face the fact that my brand new baby would be going into surgery in just a few short days.  They didn’t know that as I held my baby over the last couple weeks a part of me was terrified that something would go horribly wrong and I clung to him just a little bit tighter.

I trusted the doctors; I knew some of the best plastic surgeons in the world would be operating on my baby.  These doctors repair our wounded warriors; they heal the injuries of war and give soldiers a second chance at life.  Fixing my baby’s cleft lip was probably a walk in the park for them; I guessed that they had repaired far worse in their careers.  I knew that there wasn’t a choice in having the surgery or not, he needed to have it.  To not have it would mean a lifetime of stares and comments.  I didn’t want that for him.  I trusted that God had a plan and he would be there with my baby and the surgeons.  So I took a deep breath and thanked god for the blessing of my beautiful baby boy and the doctors who would change his life.


Today was surgery day, we were up at 2am for one last feeding and then slept for another hour and half before getting up to get ready to head to the hospital.  Rob was an angel really as we waited for the hospital to sort out some last minute details.  He was just a bit fussy but we walked the halls and he just looked around taking everything in.  I noticed other patients smiling at him as they too waited to be called back for surgery, his sweet little smile seemed to brighten their day!


Hanging out with Grandma and Daddy as we waited to be called back for his cleft lip surgery.

Handing him over to the anesthesiologist was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  With tears streaming down my cheeks the doctors assured me they would take excellent care of my baby and I knew they would.  It just didn’t make it any less hard.  David grabbed my hand as we walked out and I was grateful to have such a loving husband and father by my side.  He felt exactly what I felt at that moment and with his hand in mine I felt comforted.

Surgery was quick just over an hour and we got the call that they were finishing up.  He was a champ and everything went great they told us.  I think waiting to go back to see him in recovery was harder then the wait to find out the surgery was done.  I just wanted him in my arms again!


He was a hungry boy after surgery, he drank 3 bottle of Pedialyte while we waited to go back to his room. Daddy was the baby whisperer getting him calmed down when he started getting upset. A little oxygen to help the pain meds work and he was out like a light.

Seeing him for the first time after his cleft lip surgery was both hard and exciting at the same time.  His face was different now.  It’s so weird to think that we will forget what he looked like with the cleft lip, photos will be the only thing to remind us.  He looked so different, he was groggy and swollen.  He looked confused when he opened his eyes.  I’m just glad he won’t remember this.


No more cleft, the surgeons did a beautiful job creating his new smile! It’s hard to see him right now with the stitches and dried blood but soon the scars will fade. He’s already started smiling at us again!

Along with fixing his cleft lip the doctors fixed his nose.  On the cleft side it was a little bit droopy and the nostril was slightly enlarged.  Now it looks perfect!


Seeing him in the crib was hard especially with the IV hooked up to him.  He seems so fragile.  He’s such a trooper though.  We are getting into a routine of eating, sleeping, fussing, walking/rocking and then back to sleeping.  He doesn’t seem to be in a lot of pain and the nurses are staying on top of his meds to keep him that way.rob-cleft-lip-baby-photos-121rob-cleft-lip-baby-photos-120

Cuddling with Grandma and making faces at mommy’s camera!  He actually started to give me some smiles already!  This kid is such a flirt, he loves to smile at everyone and they just melt over him.  I can’t wait till the scars heal and he has a gorgeous smile to flash at all the ladies!

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  • Alicia LaceyApril 8, 2014 - 8:31 am

    This is such a beautiful, honest post — thank you for sharing what it was like going through something this serious. But my goodness, what a handsome little devil!!

  • DreamaApril 8, 2014 - 9:10 am


    I couldn’t imagine all the emotion that’s been rushing through you! Thinking of my 7 month old being in his position made me tear up. Rob truly is beautiful either way. Praying for a quick recovery!


  • Danielle FoxeApril 9, 2014 - 6:05 pm

    You’re a lucky lady to have such a beautiful baby! Glad his surgery went well.

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Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


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