One of This Month's Featured Families!
April 2004

Born September 26, 1994
Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate
In 1994, Michael and I found out we were expecting our first child. We were so excited. After 5 years of marriage, we thought it was the right time to start a family. The next nine months were filled with excitement, anticipation, and spreading the news to family and friends. When we found out our baby was a girl, I was on top of the world. I couldn’t wait to hold her and to love her.

As the time drew closer to the arrival of our new addition we began to wonder who our baby girl
would look like. Would she have a dark complexion like her daddy? What color hair would she have? Whose eyes would she have? Many nights I dreamed of our baby girl and how beautiful she would be.
When the big day arrived, I was scared to death. Could I really do this? Was I really ready to be a mom?  Well ready or not, I was about to find out...

Something happened in the delivery room that was never in my dreams. It never came up in any conversation. It wasn’t part of my plan.

“Call NICU Stat!” the doctor said. Those words forever changed the design I had made for our family. I will never forget them. In what seemed like only seconds, a whole team of nurses from NICU (Neo-Natal ICU) began to fill the room with equipment. The doctor briefly showed me my little girl, and then nurses began working on her.
All of a sudden, they whisked Bailey to NICU. I held her for only a minute before they took her... Was this my baby with these big brown eyes, a flat little nose, and only a bottom lip? I was totally overwhelmed. Michael went with her to NICU. He hardly ever left her side. My mom went out to the waiting room to tell our family and friends.

I was suddenly totally alone in the room.

No nurses, no doctors, no one...

I think I was in shock...
The doctor explained that Bailey had a birth defect. She was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate. She would need surgery soon to begin reconstruction. He told us about a specialist in Shreveport that did great work with cleft patients, and that she was already on her way to the hospital.
What are you thinking, God?  I can’t handle this!  What did I do wrong?  I was careful!  I didn’t smoke or drink or do drugs. Why is this happening to me? Why does my baby girl have to go through this?

People called and came by. I had Michael do all the talking. I remember saying over the phone, “Yes it’s a girl! Bailey! 7lbs 11oz and she’s just beautiful!”

Lord, Lord — how will I do this?  The bottles they want me to seems really hard to feed her...I don’t think I can do it...and how will I care for her when she has surgery?  Oh Lord How !?!
Someone gave me a book to read.  I came across Isaiah 43:2:

"When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."

The Lord spoke to me through this scripture. “You aren’t alone”, He told me. “I am always with you.”

He always has been.

Through learning the details and the severity of Bailey’s condition...
Through finding out that she was missing her entire frontal facial bone supporting the nose...

Through learning she was deaf in one ear...

Through every surgery...

Through every step of the way...

...for the past 7 years, the Lord God has walked with me.
I had made a design.  It was a plan for my perfect life, my perfect family, with all I had dreamed coming true.  That design was changed.  One thing, however, hasn’t changed: the Lord’s presence.  He was there when I passed through the waters and when the fire tested me.  He helped me find His way through. He can do the same as well, for you. In fact, He longs to help you through!

Julie Allwhite
A little update...

Shortly after I wrote my testimony of having Bailey, she had her first nose surgery... That was about a year and a half ago...  They took some bone from her hip and built a platform so to speak for her nose.. a base...  We are doing prep work right now for her next nose surgery which will build up from the base that has taken perfectly!  This time they will again use rib and will be able to go in from the same incision spot they used around 5 years ago at another graft.  They will also be removing some teeth that are in the way to make way for new ones which look good from xrays.
Bailey is excited...her doctor, Dr. Linda Gage-White, says this surgery is going to take Bailey's nose to a much more "normal" appearance.  Bailey is so ready for that... Although, she goes to a small school where everyone knows her .. this year it seems that she has experienced from a few new kids more name calling than she has had to deal with before... "flat nose" etc...  Her age also I think makes her now more than ever ready to have this next surgery... although she is a little nervous she is ready.
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