Crystal gripped the steering wheel. The upcoming morning appointment left her with loads of mixed emotions. Would this pregnancy even be viable? Regardless of the outcome, she was preparing for the long journey ahead.
Navigating cleft can be an unexpected, isolating journey. Families need the support of a community who has walked this road before. Your gift of $50 connects one family to a community that will be there every step of the way.
Crystal vividly remembers that day… She heard the rush of heartbeats and a sense of relief washed over her. The technician had more good news! There were TWO heartbeats and she was expecting TWINS! At just seven weeks and with a history of difficulty with pregnancies, many more doctor visits would follow. Without support, Crystal and her husband, young parents of a one-year-old son, were unsure how they would navigate this alone.
The 10-week appointment brought unsettling news. The doctors suspected Down syndrome. The roller coaster continued when Down’s was ruled out at the 14-week appointment and the twins’ clefts were discovered. At 18 weeks, a high-risk doctor suspected Trisomy-13 and recommended terminating the pregnancy, as they would likely die at birth. The recommendation left them reeling and searching for answers.
Crystal’s mom was with her at that appointment and urged her to seek a second opinion. Hope and excitement returned after consulting with another physician who pronounced, “Your babies are going to be perfect!” While she was relieved and wanted to believe the doctor, there were still so many unknowns with the double diagnosis of cleft. Would they really be born healthy?
An unexpected new friendship with a fellow cleft mom, who she met through Smile Oregon, brought answers to her questions. The mom pointed her to an amazing resource of a local cleft & craniofacial team. There she received the support and tools that gave her the confidence to know she would make it through this. Your gift of $50 brings hope through this community.
The day came. Twin girls! The relief of holding two healthy babies was priceless. Their clefts were completely different, requiring unique treatment plans that were swiftly put into action.
Life became crazy quickly. Caring for twin girls with special needs as well as a toddler was overwhelming. The constant connection with the Smile Oregon community kept Crystal going. You can provide the gift of community to families like Crystal’s so that no family navigates this unexpected journey alone.
Today, when Crystal grips the sweet hands of her girls, now six years old, she is continuously reminded that she is not alone in the journey ahead.