Tiny Tribe

Tiny June Tribe

It’s been quite a week for us, and I’m sorry I haven’t had a single moment to update you on our new little sweetheart.

Tiny June Tribe joined our little family, weighing 8 lbs 10 oz, after an hour and half of labor. Yep, you read that right. An HOUR AND A HALF. When she decided to come, she sure meant business. Besides being a bit dramatic (we were out of town when I went into labor, and I didn’t make it to the birth center where we had planned to deliver, and instead ended up at a birth center that was closer to where we were at), it went magically. Really when I think back on the labor, it sort of sparkles in my mind.  I had a waterbirth, and I still am kind of in shock at how fast and beautiful it all was. I have debated blogging about my birth story here, and I’ve decided to just make it available to anyone who wants to read it. I’ll warn you that it’s long, and contains the word “poop” and “vagina” several times. If you’re into that kind of stuff though, I’d be happy to email it to anyone who wants to hear it–just leave me a comment and I’ll send it to the email you used. I feel like at least part of the reason I was blessed with such an awesome delivery was to carry me through the next couple days that have been quite difficult for me–I’ve drawn many times on the sweetness and special spirit that accompanied Tiny into this world.

Immediately after labor I discovered that Tiny was having trouble nursing–she didn’t seem to be able to establish a good suck, and after hours and hours trying, we were both frustrated. I’ve nursed both my children, my son until he was almost 2, so I felt like I should have been a pro, and the fact that we were struggling so much was completely mystifying to me.  She also was losing what little she was getting up through her nose, which was worrying me, although the midwives seemed to think it was fairly normal. But it seemed like it was happening too much, and my anxiety about her getting fed was building as we continued to struggle.

Almost 24 hours after birth she still hadn’t had anything to eat, and I had gotten maybe a couple hours of sleep at most.  After 20 minutes or so of attempting a restless nap that second afternoon, my mom woke me up and informed me they had discovered that are sweet Tiny has a cleft palate (she discovered this while changing her diaper; she was crying which gave my mom a wide open view of her mouth), and that’s why she had been unable to nurse and everything was coming up through her nose. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of research, experimentation (with feeding), doctors, making appointments, figuring out insurance, and mostly for me, pumping and feeding. The biggest heartbreak for me is that I’ll be unable to nurse her at all–at least until she has her surgery, which will probably be around 6 months old. I’ve always loved nursing, so I’ll miss that special bonding time.

My cousin Trish had a cleft palate, and her Mom, my Aunt Beth, called me today to chat. I really appreciated her calling, and it occurred to me while we were talking that I really have no idea at this point what this will mean for Tiny and our family.  I don’t know what it will all entail, or really what kind of challenges will accompany her and us as we figure this whole thing out. In some ways I’m glad I don’t know, because if I did I might not feel as strong as I need to right now. I know that at least for the next few months, just feeding her will probably consume a lot of my life.  And the challenges of being a new mother to three will be a little more complicated than I had anticipated. But I had felt so much peace regarding this (mothering three) in the weeks before Tiny’s birth, and I have faith that we’ll figure this out. You can get used to anything, I think, it’s just a matter of adjusting and staying positive. So although I’m probably fairly ignorant about the ups and downs that will be my future, all I feel right now, really, is gratitude. I’m grateful that it’s not worse than it is. I’m grateful to live in time where there are so many resources, and that surgery for this type of problem is readily available. I’m grateful to have such wonderful family and friends that are pouring out their love and support for us. I’m grateful for such an amazing husband who is so steady and positive. I’m grateful for a sense of peace about it all that seems to be a gift from Heavenly Father. I’m grateful to be experiencing a really amazing recovery from delivery–better than I’ve ever had.  There’s no end to the things I’ve got going for me, and let me assure you–I feel it all.

Thanks for hanging in there while I kept you all in suspense this week–I know you must have been on pins and needles! 😉 Thanks ahead of time for understanding that I will likely be MIA for the next few weeks/months while I adjust and find my sea legs with this new development. Sometimes I forget that blogging is not like a daily newspaper with an audience that can’t be put off, but a bunch of real people, mostly women, who understand all about real life and real problems.  Thanks for that.

me and my kiddoes

56 Comments

Irina Cline

Miriam, Congratulations on your beautiful addition to your already beautiful family! I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but you’re are so incredibly strong and Heavenly Father knew you could do it! Please keep us posted and let us know if you need anything. Oh, and I’d love to read about “poop” and “vagina” 🙂

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Katie Mitchell

We love you guys! Congrats again! Harper June is BEAUTIFUL! We are excited to meet her. You are strong, positive and faithful and are a wonderful example to all. You are all in God’s care and you can’t go wrong. Harper will be able to get the help she needs and she will be okay. She is so blessed to be in a loving home with such a wonderful family. Good luck with all that is in store and let us know if we can help you. Love you very much!

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jen

Oh my she is gorgeous! What a sweet bundle of joy. So excited that she is finally here and you had such a wonderful birth. Mine have gradually got easier and number three was also about 1.5hrs, i am hoping number four will be like putting a coin in a soft-drink machine, and out he pops :o) Actually i am just hoping for a happy healthy bubba, anything else is a bonus. I would love a water birth, so would love to hear all about it in your birthing email, if you don’t mind an online random reading your story :o). I am sorry to hear about her cleft palate, it must be distressing even though as you say the condition is treatable. Its hard when they are so little and helpless, and as a mummy tiger you are so ferociously protective of your little ones. But seriously girl, i can tell just from all your blogging that you have serious strength about you, whether its through your faith, the wonderful people that surround you, or just because you’re naturally talented in this department ;o) I know you will climb this mountain in life’s journey with a smile on your face, and some suitable stunning hand-made clothes on your back. Just remember your online friends are here for you too, when you are overwhelmed, when you’re narky and sleep-deprived, when you’re happy and oh so slightly mad…so vent girl…when you have a free typing pinky cos this band of (mostly) female followers will be here to lend an understanding shoulder and a smile. Smiles x (PS. three will be easier than you think, as the other two will entertain each other when you are busy. PPS. sorry about the essay!!!)

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Miriam

Jen I think you must be one of my favorite friends I’ve found via blogging–your comments always are so sweet and uplifting. And I can’t believe you’re a speedy laborer like me! So great, right?!
Thanks for all your support–

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jen

Oh well, i am a heinous b%@$& in real life, so be thankful for me living in Australia, cos i can only stalk you online :op. Hehe! I loved your birthing story…AMAZING (poop and all!). Will reply to the email, but i also got totally freaked out with my last labour having huge gaps in between contractions, then only like 3 pushes and there was this baby…i was definitely in shock for awhile!
Hope you are cruising though week one without TOO many hormonal tears and “Oh my gosh” what i have done moments :o)
And remember not to underestimate the power of your blogging to make your online stalkees smile too. Your anecdotes can be enough to get me through naughty-kid-hazed days. Over and out x

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julie

oh wow.
congrats. she is beautiful! and i love the name.
I hope everything goes well with the surgery!!
and Im really interested in your water birth. Can you send me your story? I would love to read it!
thanks!
and im real happy for you!!!!

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Jamie

Congratulations! She is gorgeous. What an quick entrance that she made. 🙂 I’m so sorry that you cannot breastfeed her like you had planned. I imagine I would be disappointed as well. With your positive attitude, she is very lucky to have you. I look forward to reading more about her!

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Jane Schmitt

Congratulations on the birth of beautiful Harper June. I know everything will work out just fine with her cleft plate because you have such a wonderful outlook on life. God Bless your entire family.

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Mary

Wow, congratulations! Her name is classy and sort of old school; I really like it. Send me your birth story, I’m super into those.

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Amy

Congratulations! I had my little girl on Monday with a quick labor also so I would love to read your birth story. As for the cleft palate, I am a speech therapist and while I have very limited experience with cleft lip/palate, I have seen such great outcomes after surgery, especially if fixed early. I’m sorry it means you won’t be able to nurse. I’m still trying to get it figured out with this one but know I would miss it if I couldn’t. But it sounds like you have a great attitude about it, I’m sure you’ll find countless other ways to bond with your precious little girl. I’d start with running my fingers through all that beautiful hair! (Jealous!) Congrats again and good luck.

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Felisha

She is beautiful. Please let us know if we can help you in anyway. I know your faith, and the love of our Savior will carry you through these next months ahead. You are such a positive, strong and amazing role model to me.

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Rach

Oh Miriam, she is beautiful!! I cannot believe everything you’ve been through already in this short amount of time. But above all, I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS. You are one of the strongest, most confident woman and mother I know. You will make it through. I would love to read your birth story. Good luck with everything!!

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Maureen

Hi congratulations! She is so darling. I’m just commenting to say that my sister and two of her five kids have cleft lips (not the same thing, but in the same general category). She was able to breastfeed both boys but both have required surgery. The older of the two had a double cleft lip (meaning on both sides) and the younger just had a smaller one. The older boy required two surgeries, but the second one was mostly cosmetic and was just done the same day that the younger had his done. My sister has a cleft lip herself and so she had her experiences of what that was like 30 years ago. She knew beforehand on one kid and not on the other. Both times it was a bit of shock and adjustment, like it sounds like you’re experiencing. But she has come to see what I and many others told her all along, that it’s just really the smallest issue. And of all the many things that can go wrong with childbirth and development, this is a pretty good one to have. Your baby will be fine, the advancements made on these types of surgeries have advanced so, so much. I am sure you will miss breastfeeding but don’t stress too much, because your baby girl will be just fine, I’m sure of it! Congratulations again!

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Miriam

Maureen, I have a cousin with a cleft lip and palate, and also a second cousin with one. I have been told a few times that it isn’t genetic, but your story and mine makes me think it must be. I’ll be interested to do some mapping on it all. What an amazing story your sister has–she must be a special woman. With all that has happened, I’m being so impressed and inspired by the stories of women who have gone through similar things and come through with insight and strength–thanks for sharing.

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Maureen

We didn’t think it was genetic before either, but my sister, her two boys, and my cousin’s son all have it. A doctor did say that it is very rare but that the odds are just a tiny bit higher if it’s already in the family. Who would have thought? Anyway I am sure all will work out with your darling girl, best wishes

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Becky

What a beautiful story! She is gorgeous!!! And her HAIR!!! Im in love!!!! You are so positive. I LOVE this about you. You are the perfect Mother for this sweet little girl and your amazing! So sorry about not being able to nurse. I had the same thing happen with my oldest. Nursing was impossible! He couldnt latch on…at his 6 week check they realized he was tongue tied. But by that time he was too used to the bottle he still wouldnt nurse. So I pumped for 4 1/2 months. It was hard but it made me feel good that he still got my milk. The hospital loaned us a PIMP pump for FREE through baby your baby or WIC. I cant remember…but Im sure they will give you all the info. Lactation specialists are all about pumping/nursing 🙂 Your amazing Mim! I have Girls Camp this next week but I would love to come visit you soon. I will get in touch after GC. Take care!!! Im so happy your recovering well. Xoxo!

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laura hendricks

congrats mim! she’s adorable-i’m so happy for you guys and that everything went well and safe.
keep us updated on the surgery. i hope it goes smoothly/flawlessly.

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Danielle

Mim! This is Dani (Henrie) Todd. (Can I call you Mim? Ty always did =0)
I just discovered your blog in the past couple of weeks and I have been LOVING it! I love your crafts, your humor, and your writing style! You’re one of the ones I get really excited about when I see you have a new post =0)

First of all – – Harper is beautiful, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her name!
Second – – Good luck with the surgery! Amen and hallelujah for modern medicine.
Third – – I would actually like to read your birth story. I am weirdly amused by birthing stories since having my first and i have another one on the way, so bring on the visuals =0)

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Miriam

Hey Dani! Of course you can call me Mim! I always get so excited when I find out someone I know from home reads or visits my blog!

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Sarah

I’d love to read the birth story! Congratulations mama, and best wishes for the little one.

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Logkroon

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter, I would love to read the birth story. My son was born with a cleft lip so I know what you’re talking about with the pumping and bottlefeeding. You’ll get the hang of it I’am sure. What really helped me was to give the previous pumped milked in the bottle (just leave it out of the fridge and give at room tempature). That way I would be flexible in when I would pump (usually after the bottle feeding) and I dindn’t have a crying and hungry baby that was waiting on his mother to finish pumping. I live in Europe but here they use the Haberman nipple on a bottle if a child has a cleft palet. Best wishes for the coming weeks.

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Miriam

Thank you so much for the tip! It’s already made my life a little easier. I’ve ordered the Haberman nipple–I’m eager for it to arrive, because it seems like it will be ideal for Harper’s situation. Thanks for your encouraging words!

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the mither

ah Mim, I’ve just been reading all the love and support you’ve been receiving from your online family of friends. Very sweet. How I love the circle of women. We used to gather at the well. How cool to be able to gather a like-minded circle around the globe! You will be discovering each day more about your Babe, and about yourself (and your Sweetheart). And one day at a time, you will be pulling through. We’ll look fwd to the Haberman’s arrival–how great to find the best resources on the planet through the internet. You are finding out what I have observed, that if we knew the middle from the beginning, we’d never have the courage to take the first steps. It is almost thankfully that we do not know the future, but we can trust that our Father in Heaven will carry us through the parts we don’t have the strength for, and loves us enough to set us back on our own two feet when the time is right.

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Micah

Congrats Miriam! She is wonderful! What a beautiful family you have. I love her name, & may I just say that Harpers are the best!! (I have a Harper Lynne) I’m sure its frustrating not being able to nurse, I also love nursing. Hopefully you will be able to soon!! I will keep you both in our thoughts & prayers.
I would love to get an email about her birth story.

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Martha

you got me all teary eyed!!! i love that picture of you with your three kids (especially m’s happy little face). i can’t believe she has dark hair, too! that was a surprise to me! did your other kids have dark hair at birth? i’m praying for you. i like what your mom said about how we have to be forced to have courage sometimes. you are a special mama with a very special little girl. i can’t wait to meet her.

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Martha

oh, and send me the birth story OF COURSE! even though i’ve heard it, i love to relish all the details written down.

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Krista

Mim! Harper is such a pretty little thing… You make beautiful children 🙂 I know this new little girl presents challenges but I know you will be just fine, you are never given more than you can handle. Would love to read the whole birth story, I’m weirdly obsessed with them… I’m also a bit jealous as my labor with Conor was 24 hours ending with a c- section. 🙂 thinking of you and little Harper, keep us updated! Xoxo

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marci

What a beautiful addition to your already beautiful family! (I know I have never seen you in person but she must look a lot like you because I can see a lot of your mom in her!) I also am going to echo the previous sentiments about ADORING that name. 😀 The expressions on everyone’s faces on that picture are fabulous, and being a birth junkie I would love to read the story if you really don’t mind sharing.

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Miriam

Marci my mom was totally tickled that you think Harper looks like her! That’s quite a compliment to little Harper too!

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Erin

Hi Miriam,

Congratulations on your little Harper! She’s beautiful! I know how scary it is to learn that there’s something wrong with your little one from the get-go. My oldest son was born with a cleft lip. I didn’t find out until he was born either. Feeding was a long and difficult process for us too while we learned the ropes. He took in so much air through his little crooked lip while he ate that he was gassy and constantly uncomfortable. But by the Grace of God, we got the hang of it. You will too! There is so much help and support available for clefts nowadays that you can have all your questions and concerns answered. We were able to go to Cleft Clinics where our son was evaluated by a panel of different professionals (ENT, speech therapist, audiologist, dentist, orthodontist, plastic surgeon, pediatrician) who evaluated every aspect of his development. I would encourage you to see if there is a Cleft Clinic in your area. It has been a huge help. My son (now 2yrs) had surgery at 5mo and although it was a challenging couple of weeks, we all made it! Rely on God’s grace during those challenging days and times and take it all one day at a time. Will the doctors be able to fit Harper with an obturator early? Would that possibly enable her to breastfeed? I know that it’s hard when you can’t nurse your baby, but because you are going the extra mile to care for her by pumping and storing your milk, she is getting the nutrition she needs! Enjoy your little blessing and rest in knowing that this was part of God’s plan for her and your family all along!

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Miriam

Thanks Erin for your sweet comment, I have so appreciated all the advice I’ve received from those who know. I’m not sure about the obturator yet. The one doctor we’ve been able to see so far didn’t know anything, but from what I’ve read an obturator might not work for the location of Harper’s cleft which is more in the soft palate. We have our first appointment with the team we’ll be working with next week, so I’m hoping to find out more then. Thanks again for your advice and words of encouragement!

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Amy Morby

YES! Congratulations, Miriam! She is completely and absolutely perfect. And that name. SO beautiful. Congrats to all of you!

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Gianina

Congratulations on the birth of your lovely daughter! So much beautiful hair, and what a cute name…I’m sorry for the challenges you are going through, but you sound so strong and positive with such a wonderful supportive family that I know everything will be just fine. I’m expecting my first in October and am planning a home waterbirth, so I would love to read your birth story if you don’t mind sharing. Again, congratulations on the birth…little Harper looks like the perfect addition to your sweet family!

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Sarah

I was interested in what you said about cleft palette and read about it some in my breastfeeding books. I hope you still get to let her comfort suck so you two can have that special bonding. I know how hard it must be to have your feeding plans change so drastically. The book did say even if it goes up through their sinus/into the ears that at least breastmilk is much less irritating than formula. I know you are probably researching like crazy, as I would be. You probably don’t need my advice, but my heart goes out to you and I wish I could help. Glad you have a lot of support!

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Miriam

Yes I am putting her to the breast still–I have a secret hope that maybe once she has the surgery we can nurse after that. It might be a long shot, but I want her to be familiar with it if it’s a possibility. It’s definitely not ideal, but we’re getting used to it, and she seems to be doing really well.

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Melissa

You never cease to amaze me. Seriously. Harper is such an adorable little girl, and I love the picture of you with your three beautiful children. Plus, I would love to read your birth story too! Please let me know if you need anything.

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becca

You bet I’d love the birth story! You have my email!
Congratulations! Love to you and your family! Good luck with everything. Blessings and prayers to you all!

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Tami

I cannot wait to see that sweet baby girl in person! Absolutely beautiful! I’m so glad the birth was amazing, and I look forward to hearing every juicy detail. Out of the hardest trials come the sweetest blessings. I know that you are doing everything right for your family and the blessings will flow. Love and prayers are being sent your way.

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Jodie

Congratulations! I would love to hear Harper’s birth story if you would send it to me. Harper is a truly lucky girl to have such a caring mother. Flexibility in parenting can be so difficult (flexibility in anything really) and it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job of rolling with the punches. Will be thinking about you and hope to hear updates as you can post them.

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Kait

Hi there! I just found your blog vie DIY maternity and thought I would comment on your beautiful girl having a cleft palate.

(I don’t know if anyone has said this already, as I was too lazy to read all of the comments…that and I’m pregnant and tired and well just didn’t)

First off, congratulations!!! She is beautiful!!

Second, our baby (still in utero) has a cleft lip and palate, so I kind of know what your going through. kind of. What really has helped me is this cleft lip & palate group on babycenter. I know this sounds like spam, but it isn’t. Here’s the link if you want to check it out. http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a56125/cleft_lipcleft_palate
There is tons and tons and tons of helpful and encouraging advice for dealing with cleft lips and palates.
anyway, if you have any question or just need to vent feel free to email me! Once again, congratulations on the beautiful baby girl!

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Kathleen

Mim, congratulations on another beautiful daughter! Is Harper partly named after Harper Lee (I know how much you love TKAM)? Regardless, she has a beautiful name. I hope all goes well in adjusting to these unwanted circumstances and that she has an absolutely perfect surgery as soon as she is ready and the time is right. I, too, would love to receive the birth story via email. Love you and miss you! What a gorgeous family of 5 you have!!

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Miriam

Yes! Harper Lee for sure. It’s not specifically after her, but that’s definitely where I got the name from, and I do love TKAMB. And now it turns out I’ve got both of my daughters with names from there! Thank you like always for being so thoughtful and kind Kathleen!

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Temma

Miriam,
I’m so happy for you and the beautiful birth it sounds like you and Harper had. I’d love to read the whole birth story. Please let James and I know if you guys need anything. We’re back in town tomorrow evening. We love you all! Things will turn out beautifully with Harper, I’m sure. Even though breastfeeding is the ideal, if it doesn’t work out as perfectly as you’d like, I know that Heavenly Father will help you and Harper find ways to create that special bond. There is always a way. Your love and devotion will ring loud and clear with whatever feeding method you have to use. You are amazing!

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luvinthemommyhood

Congrats on your new bundle of joy! She’s gorgeous! I had to leave a comment after seeing her name! Good choice! I named my newest one (now 13mths) Harper and it’s awesome to see another girl with the same name! Go Harper’s!
You are a wonderful mother and Harper & your other 2 kidlets are so blessed to have you as their mommy! Your strength as a woman and as a mother is amazing. You will get through this, it may be hard and a struggle at times but you will pull through. You have all of us to hold you up and help you through and you and that precious angel of yours are loved.
Take care of yourself too, rest up and stay strong. Congrats again!!!

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Miriam

Wow, that’s TWO people who have little girl Harper’s! Beautiful name! So question–did everyone think it was a boy’s name?!!? So far EVERY single doctor and nurse that has looked at her chart has immediately assumed that she was a boy! Even when she’s completely dressed in pink! I had no idea I was naming my daughter a gender neutral name–I still maintain that it’s a GIRL’S name!
Thanks for all your kind thoughts–I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received.
PS I’m curious what camera do you use? Your photos are really gorgeous.

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whitney

I am so bad at checking your blog regularly but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the name Harper! I have already been at work trying to convince my husband that it should be our next girl’s name (yes girl, did they think Harper Lee was a man?) so I was pretty shocked when I saw it on here! They could be BFF’s! So sorry to hear about her cleft palate, there is no worry like the worry of a mother, that’s for sure. I’m sure it will all work out just fine, until then get some rest!

AND I LOVE a good birth story, most especially when it contains the words poop and vagina, preferably in the same sentence. You can email it to me or FB me if that’s easier.

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Adrianna

I am so late to reply to this, but I wanted to say congratulations! Harper is so beautiful and so is her name! And I’ve never heard of a boy named Harper… totally a girl’s name!

You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers as of late and I know that you are such an incredible example of a strong mother and daughter of God to so many people, including me! I know that you will be blessed on this journey with Harper and I wish you all the best. She is a lucky girl to have you as her mama. Please send me a copy of the birth story, I would love to read it! And thanks for keeping us updated with your blogging. So many people care and want to know how you and your family are doing. Take care!

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Shelly

So, I’m new to your blog, and was going through the archives and found this beautiful post. My nephew was born with cleft lip/cleft palate (though the lip part was discovered prior to his birth via sonogram and they were pretty certain he would have the palate to go with it). I was a senior in high school at the time and it was their first baby – it seemed we were over at their house all the time. I’m certain that I cannot fully empathize or understand what they (and you) felt, but I did see the struggles and triumphs second-hand. He was fortunately able to eat via bottle (the Medela kind specifically made for kiddos with sucking problems) and my SIL pumped frequently to try to provide for him. The surgery recoveries were hard to watch – his little face was so swollen and his arms would be in splints to keep him from messing with it. He would moan a lot. But, today, he is a bright and healthy almost 10-year-old with a small amount of scarring. He eats like a normal kid and aside from having to wear headgear to bed (and he will have braces and a rhinoplasty in his future), life is completely normal and has been for years.

I’m so glad to hear that Harper’s latest surgery went well and I do hope that nursing will work out for you now. What a wonderful thing that would be!

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Miriam

Thanks Shelly, I absolutely love hearing success stories involving clefts. At this point it’s not looking like she’ll ever nurse–right now we’re just praying that she’ll feed orally eventually. We’re getting ready for another surgery in the next few weeks to have a gastric tube put in (the ones the come out directly from her tummy. It’s definitely been a long road, but I love to hear about kids who had all these struggles, but now live normal and full lives. Sometimes it’s hard to remember or hope that someday this will all be behind her; I just try and tell myself this is just a small moment in time! Thanks for sharing.

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Shelly

Since I read how much you’d wanted to nurse her, I’m sorry that that won’t be a possibility, but, yes, feeding orally at all will be a big milestone when that happens someday. For now, it sounds like the gastric tube will at least be an improvement over the current situation. But, either way, I can only imagine the long road. Your situation has been much more difficult than my nephew’s, but I’m certain it will work out just fine for you in the end. It must be part of Heavenly Father’s plan for your family somehow, although it’s hard to picture now (especially when you have to watch your sweet baby struggle). All the best!

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