Tag: lip tie

Surgery Day: Mommy’s Point of View

Update: Surgery Day - Momm'y Point of View | An update from the frenectomy on http://www.oliverandtara.com

This will be two parts – one factual with everything we’ve learned, one from the mommy point of view. This is my point of view…

Procedures shouldn’t be scheduled for the afternoon. All that waiting, then all of the sudden it is time. Not fun.

We went out to a nice breakfast and took Pip to a park to get some wiggles out. He was in an exceptional mood, which helped. He had a good night sleep and his Nana was there – what else could a boy want?!

Soon it was time to head to Dr. Jesse’s office. We arrive early to fill out paperwork and were greeted by a nice receptionist in a beautiful waiting room.  Soon we were ushered back into a very large procedure room. There was a bit of a wait at that point, and Pip became restless. So we wandered the halls a bit. Everyone was very sweet, greeting him with waves and smiles. It definitely helped us all feel a tad relaxed.

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When Dr. Jesse walked in, he greeted everyone and struck up conversation with me. We “geeked out” for a bit on Liam’s diagnosis, his prognosis, the lack of education on this across professions … It was a conversation that definitely put me at ease.

Diagnosis: Liam’s lip tie was extremely severe – definitely a class 4. He should  have struggled with reflux, been a “failure to thrive” and never should have been able to nurse. His tongue tie was moderate severe with a good chance of impacting lower jaw development and causing sleep apnea.

They had Oliver lay down in the dentist chair with Pip on his chest. His job was to talk to Liam , while using his arms to hold his body still. Two nurses hold his head steady. My mom helped hold his feet and I stayed “out of sight”. We wanted to give him someone “safe” to return to after we were finished.

That was a very long 6 minutes … second only to the length of time for his surgery at 4 weeks old. I could not in good conscience leave the room. If a procedure is being done to my son and I don’t have the stomach to watch, how can I subject him to it?

So I stood. In the corner.

Listening to my baby scream at the top of his lungs.

Crying myself.

Cursing the lactation consultant at his birth.

Praying for it to end quickly.

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Throughout the whole procedure Dr. Jesse was amazing. First they numbed him with and adult dose. Dr. Jesse assured me his older patients all reported not feeling anything with that dose. They gave that a good bit to settle, then they began the procedure. Pip bit Dr. Jesse a few times. VERY hard. And never once did he jump, become loud, etc. His voice stayed calm, soothing and friendly. More than once I heard “That was a good bite! What a strong jaw you have! Can I have my finger back? I need it so we can finish buddy…” Amazing.

In hindsight, it was over quickly. I couldn’t get to my baby quick enough. I scooped him up in my arms as he struggled to catch his breath. My mom assured me she watched his eyes the whole time. It was anger with a little fear, not pain, that had him hysterical. By the time we left he was still working to catch his breath, but waved goodbye to Dr. Jesse and his nurses.

Dr. Jesse was very happy with the outcome, we were given the post-op instructions and took him back to the hotel. I gave him tylenol, teething tabs, rubbed copaiba on his lip, diffused gentle baby and worked to settle him. He couldn’t nurse – partially due to being numb and partially because he couldn’t figure out his new mouth. It was like trying to breastfeed a newborn. He rammed his face into my chest, couldn’t hold a latch and just sobbed. My mom (bless her) was finally able to rock him to sleep.

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He slept for hours. Still working to catch his breath – even in his sleep.

The next few weeks opened our eyes to how much the lip and tongue tie really impacted him…

Next week: The Facts and an Update

❤ Tara

Packing for a Frenectomy

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/

I can’t believe we leave for LA today. Tomorrow we see Dr. James Jesse and Liam’s smile will be changed forever. For good reasons… but forever different. Is it crazy that I’m struggling so much with that? Anyways, on to what is in the bag…

I really racked my brain this week to try and figure out what Liam loves the most. What brings him comfort? What does he turn to (other than breastfeeding) when something hurts or upsets him? I also researched the interwebs to try and find some ways to offer him relief from pain beyond Tylenol. Below is a summary of some of his favorites that are in the suitcase today:

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/His blanket. My mom found this on a discount site when I was still pregnant. It’s soft orange minky on one side and owl satin on the other. Whenever he wants to sleep he pulls it up over himself. Blanket is DEFINITELY in the bag (and I’ll pay you good money if you find “backups” of this… )

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/White Noise. This kid sleeps better with sound, always has. He is a “startler” and sudden noise (no matter how little) in a quite room jerks him awake. I contemplated packing his white noise machine, but we went with our Happiest Baby On The Block soundtrack off of Amazon mp3 and this awesome Logitech speaker his uncle Curtis hooked us up with. It worked when he was tiny, so hopefully it still holds it’s magic!

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Mickey Mouse. Don’t ask, because I have no idea. I think it comes from the DNA he shares with his uncle Logan. But this kid has recently fallen in LOVE with Mickey Mouse. He treats him like his “baby” – rocking him, patting his back, kissing him. It’s freaking adorable. Trust me.

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Essential Oils. My doTerra and Young Living essential oils are packed up and ready to go. In the bag I have lavender, onGuard, frankincense, copaiba, clove, gentle baby, peace and calming and more. All to help him with pain, decrease the swelling, encourage rest and promote healing.

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Diffuser. This may sound CRAZY (and I’m not quite sure Oliver approves) but I’ve packed my diffuser as well. He has been sleeping much better recently when I diffuse Gentle Baby. And diffusing Thieves or OnGuard will help keep him healthy in the hotel after this attack on his immune system. Plus mommy may need a bit of “Peace and Calming” heading into Thursday’s appointment.

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Tylenol. I am all about natural interventions, but when there is a chance that my little guy can be in some significant pain I don’t hesitate to pull out the big guns. We don’t use Tylenol for teething and such, but I don’t think twice for big procedures. God gave people brains, and those brains created Tylenol. I’ll use WHATEVER God has available to me in order to keep my little guy happy.

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Toys and “Baby”. Anything that I can use to distract him from his pain! I’m bringing some of his favorite toys which include his poker chips with drop bucket, small balls and cars. I’m also bringing my iPad with “baby” (Baby Signing Time). It’s the only movie he is allowed to watch and I’m pretty sure Rachel (the creator/host) is his first crush.

 

Packing for a Frenectomy | A peek into what is inside Liam's procedure bag over at http://www.oliverandtara.com/packing-for-a-frenectomy/Popsicles and Ice. Everyone knows something cold is a huge relief with mouth pain. So I picked up some small ice cube trays and a friend loaned me her popsicle molds. My plan is to make some breast milk popsicles and ice cubes. The ice cubes I’ll put in one of his mesh bags. Again – relief is key!

We’ll try to keep you updates was we are able – probably on the Facebook page! Please keep those prayers coming and watch for photos over on my Instagram!

❤ Tara

Inside Mommy’s Heart

Inside Mommy's Heart | A peek into the emotions of a mom tking her toddler for a frenectomy to repair a lip tie and tongue tie! http://www.oliverandtara.com

So I posted yesterday about the factual side of Liam’s lip tie and suspected tongue tie. All the details I’ve wrapped myself in. But I also want to be honest and open about the “real” side of this all. How my heart is. I am trusting God in all of this… but let’s be honest.

I am mad.

I am sad.

I am worried.

I am scared.

I am shattered.

If I give myself a moment to sit and think, I just want to cry. The image of what Thursday will hold is just overwhelming. We have to pin my child down to a table and violate his personal space. He won’t understand. He won’t know why. He’s going to be angry and scared and probably slightly traumatized. And this makes me mad. As a mommy I am FURIOUS. I am mad with the lactation consultant who blew me off. I’m mad at myself for not pushing for this more when he was younger – heck, we could have had this taken care of while he was in the hospital for his FIRST surgery. I’m mad that my child has to go through even more procedures. I feel like he has had his fair share already with pyloric stenosis, barium enemas, etc.

But this isn’t a pity party. This is just me being real. And of course, there is always a “moral” to my story. It’s given me time to think about what is helpful from others when in this situation (much like my tips for infertility) and what is NOT helpful. So, before you reply to me or anyone else, let me give you a few small tips for when you have friends going through something.

Don’t  sensationalize, don’t compare and don’t downplay.

Here is what I mean …

I already am sensationalizing and blowing this all way out of proportion in my own head. Please don’t say things that add fuel to the wild fire of my imagination. “Wow, he’ll probably remember this…” or “I wonder if this will traumatize him long term” or “wow, he will probably be really angry with you…” can stay locked up inside your head please. I have probably already thought it and don’t need someone speaking it into my life. Validate what I am feeling, and speak understanding into my life. “I would be so scared too” or “I can’t imagine, but I’m here for you…”

Yes, I realize I am blessed. I realize there are children out there going through way worse. I realize your child may have been through way worse. But let me hurt. Let me be mad and sad and tired.  And don’t compare your child’s much more minor incidences (“My kid fell off his bike, I know how hard it is to see your child hurt”) to this situation either. Just… let’s not play the compare game. Let’s play the “we’re mom’s, and we’re here for each other” one instead. That one is a lot more needed, appreciated and helpful.

Even if you’ve been through this, consider that whole “hindsight is 20/20”. It may seem less “big” on the other side, but from where I stand it is HUGE and overwhelming and painful. This goes hand in hand with the “don’t compare” point. We all have our trials on the path God has given us … when someone says “this is hard” let us surround them. Not “blow it off”. Don’t stand at the bottom of the mountain and tell me “it’s not that big”. Don’t stand at the top of it and tell me “it’s easy”. Don’t stand on your own mountain and say “Yours isn’t as hard/steep/etc as mine”.

This is our mountain to climb today, will you climb it with us?

❤ Tara

All Tied Up: Lip Tied & Tongue Tied

Never doubt that “mommy sense”. Fight for what you feel is “wrong” or “off”. Do not let other’s belittle your concerns. You know your baby better than anyone else. I should have fought before, but I’m fighting now. And we’re going to win this curve ball after Liam has “surgery” next week in California..

Back Story

From the day Liam was born I thought something was off about his oral anatomy (and I know a bit about that, being an SLP and all). I asked the lactation consultant in the hospital and was told “it just looks different because he doesn’t have teeth and is so small…” How I wish I had been wrong, or that I’d fought more back then. Recently a few things were really itching that thought in the back of my mind:

  • People kept saying “oh those are the cutest two little teeth! You’ll get more soon” and similar phrases. Except… he has six teeth. Four on top that no one ever seemed to notice.
  • He doesn’t “pucker” his lips very well. I’ll post again this week with a video showing how he “kisses”.
  • When he drinks water, it is through a straw. But he more “pinches” it between his lips than puckers.  Also, it ALL falls out of his mouth if he takes the straw out.
  • When we try to feed him by bottle he always collapses the nipple between his lips.
  • [warning: may be TMI] When he nurses he doesn’t take the whole nipple into his mouth. He stays near the tip – I was constantly told this was just because he had a small mouth
  • He nurses for VERY short stints. A few minutes and then takes a break.

What sealed the deal was his top two front teeth growing in significantly recently. They came in with a big gap. When I was looking closer at the gap I realized it – his lip is attached through his top two teeth and onto his palate! I called Oliver from the airport (I was flying home) and told him “Liam is lip tied…. bad.”

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Facts

What followed was extensive research on my part. The biggest impact for me was realizing the following:

  • Lip ties are very common and mostly genetic
    (go ahead, run to the mirror. We all did…)
  • Most lip ties come with a tongue tie
  • There are two types of lip ties …
    • Frenulum Labii Superioris (inside the upper lip) – this is Liam’s
    • Frenulum Labii Inferioris (inside the lower lip).
  • It causes significant problems in breastfeeding – doesn’t stimulate milk production, damages nipples, bad latch, poor weight gain/failure to thrive, etc.
  • It is EXTREMELY common, but hardly diagnosed!

“Ties” are rated on a scale of “classes”. For lips ties, a class 1 is “normal” and a class “4” is the most severe. For tongues the scale goes the opposite direction. I know Liam has at least a class 3, but possible class 4, lip tie. You can see some great images here:

There are so many myths and “old school” mindsets out there that impact intervention on lip ties:

  • Many doctors/lactation consultants believe medical intervention isn’t needed, thinking children will “grow out of it”.
  • Many professionals will not treat infants/toddlers/etc.
  • Some suggest “waiting to see if it impacts speech, then intervening”

Ug! As an SLP I can say with assurance – NEVER wait to see if something “impacts speech”. By that time you are looking at extensive intervention to correct something rather than being “ahead of the game”. And the more research I did, the more I realized intervention was not only important, but necessary. And fast.

Interventions

When battling a “lip tie”, the individual needs a “frenectomy”. In layman terms, you need to cut the frenulum that attached the lip to the gums or the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This is primarily done one of two ways:

  • Cut with a scalpel then stitched (Z-plasty surgery)
  • Cut and simultaneously cauterized via laser

Stitches and a toddler sounded like a nightmare. And the healing for that was extensive and much slower than a laser. Research into the laser procedure gave us a general “picture” of how the appointment would go:

  • They would put local anesthesia into the frenulum being cut
  • After giving it a few minutes to kick in, they cut the frenulum
  • The procedure lasts approximately 6 minutes start to finish

This seemed like the best decision to us. The hardest part will be having to restrain Liam while they cut. So, now that we had decided we were going to allow someone with a laser into our child’s mouth, we needed to find out who does this procedure…

Specialists

I first assumed it would be a medical doctor or ENT who would specialize in this. But it is actually cosmetic dentistry! We searched and found the names of the leading specialists. If someone was going to be in my child’s mouth (an SPL’s kid!) with a LASER, they had better know what they are doing! We found one of the leading specialists (and researchers!) in the nation is Dr. Kotlow in Albany, New York. And his very first suggestion, if you can’t go to him, is Dr. James Jesse in Loma Linda, California. We did find some dentists who do the laser in our area, but we prayed about it and only really felt peace about going to California.  So I called his office, stated immediately that I was an SLP with a child with a class 3/suspected class 4 lip tie and probable tongue tie. They had an opening the following week.

What Can I Do?

Honestly, go check your little one. Talk to your friends about checking their little ones! Do you know someone struggling to latch/breastfeed? Or someone who is ready to give up due to pain/cracked nipples/etc? Share this post! Get them help – help that friend rid themselves of “mommy guilt” and raise awareness that this is common and FIXABLE! Be the answer someone else needs to much and keep more kids off the SLPs caseload by giving them a great start to their breastfeeding AND speech development!

Our Plan

We fly out Wednesday night to LA where we will meet up with my mom (she is flying in from San Jose). We then pick up our rental car and drive to our hotel in Loma Linda. Thursday as 2pm PST we have our appointment with Dr. James Jesse to correct Liam’s “ties”. We are cleared to fly home the very next day, but instead chose to stay until Saturday afternoon and give Liam some “chill time”.

Over the next week or so I will post what we packed for our trip, what helped with the surgery/recovery process and a less “informative” and much more “personal” peek into what we are all thinking and feeling through this process. Keeping it real!

❤ Tara

Some great blogs and websites: