Abigael's Smile

By Allison Molsee

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Our daughter Abigael Noel was born March 12th, 2007 with an incomplete unilateral cleft lip. We found out about her cleft via ultrasound when I was 22 weeks pregnant, and were able to meet with some of our team at the craniofacial center before Abby's birth. We were so impressed with our treatment and experience during our visit that we were confident Abby would be in good hands.

On the day of her birth, we were pleased to finally know that Abby did not have a cleft palate. This meant that she would be able to breastfeed, and avoid many other things that go along with clefting such as chronic ear infections, hearing loss, and challenges with speech. She was a healthy, thriving, beautiful little baby.

On July 20th, 2007 when Abby was 4 months old, Dr. Hopper repaired her cleft lip and nose. His work is truly amazing, I see it in Abby's smile every day. Her recovery had it's ups and downs, but overall went as well as we could have hoped. She is such a strong little girl.

In August of 2008 we returned to Children's for Abby's annual craniofacial clinic visit. We had a great visit with Dr. Hopper and his associates. He was pleased with the progress of Abby's scar and how it healed, although it was determined at this visit that she would need another surgery in September to repair her tethered frenulum.

On the 23rd of September, 2008, Abby went in for surgery for the second time in her short little 18 month life. Dr. Hopper was successful once again, and Abby had another uneventful recovery. Of course she was uncomfortable at times during the healing process, but was back to normal within a few days.

There is so much we have learned and gained as human beings along this journey with Abby, and there is nothing I would change about our sweet girl. As we are approaching her second birthday, Abby continues to learn and grow each and every day. She is such a blessing to our family and everyone she graces with her big blue eyes and beautiful smile.

What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?

I loved the fact that I was encouraged by our nurse, Suzanne, and our social worker, Monica, to call and ask any questions I may have regarding Abby's cleft whenever I wanted, even before she was born.

I am thankful to the nurses and staff that cared for Abby and our family as we were dealing with putting our sweet baby girl into surgery. We were provided with truly amazing care which exceeded our expectations.

And most of all, I am thankful for Dr. Hopper and the amazing work he performs each and every day, not only for my child, but for all the others he has helped along the way. What a lucky bunch of kids and parents we are to have the pleasure of knowing and working with Dr. Hopper. Thank You!