Yesterday was the day I’ve been dreading for a while now. Mike, Adam, and I packed up and drove to Charlotte to get Adam’s lip-tie corrected. We had the choice of two different places to go: a plastic surgeon and a dentist.
We went to the plastic surgeon first, who was recommended by our pediatrician. Everyone there was really nice and knowledgable about lip-ties. The doctor who would have done the procedure specializes in reconstructive surgery. However, the actual procedure they described gave me pause. They wanted to put him under anesthesia and cauterize his lip, then suture it in place. It was technically an “outpatient” procedure, but required us to get there early in the morning and be there for hours while he recovered, not from the surgery, but from the anesthesia. Putting my baby under for an elective procedure gave me the heebie jeebies (technical term).
On a lesser but still important note, all of this would have been wildly high in cost. The doctor and the hospital would have been billed us separately, so that pretty much put the final nail in that coffin for us. We called about a week later and cancelled the surgery.
The second choice was a dentist who specializes in repairing lip and tongue ties with a laser. He was recommended to us by a mother on a local parenting forum, so I looked him up and did some research. Everything about this place seemed better. The procedure only takes five minutes, the cost is less, and it’s done with a local anesthetic. So we made the appointment.
Even though I felt better about this path, we were still going to do a pretty invasive procedure on Adam. So, cue the massive amounts of anxiety. My neck has felt like someone tied it in a bow for the last few days and I’ve been -slightly- irritable. Okay really irritable. Sorry, Mike.
Luckily the drive there was uneventful. I made the appointment with Adam’s naps in mind, so he slept just about the whole way there. The drive was pretty nice. We passed our Mecca on the way there (otherwise known as Ikea) but ended up not going. We may have to take a day trip for our anniversary and go back. The Williamsons need floating shelves!!
Anyway, the dentist examined Adam and told us he has a class four tie. That’s class four out of four. His tie came all the way down to the end of his gums where his teeth come out. I was pretty shocked when I heard just how bad the tie is. And I couldn’t believe we actually managed to breastfeed for almost eight months. I mean, Adam even has problems getting the right suction on a bottle. His top lip curled under and made it hard to get the milk out. Getting a good latch must have been a nightmare for him. So I felt a lot better about what was about to go down on his lip.
The short of it is this: Dr. McMurtry numbed his lip with a topical gel, then they swaddled his arms down and a nurse held him in place while his lip was lasered. It was awful to watch and Adam screamed. The. Whole. Time. After it was over he was put right into Mike’s arms to calm down. Then we sat down and I gave him a bottle. And you know what? His lip didn’t curl under. Not even a little bit. He was able to take milk for the first time in his life without the need to correct his suction. After a few minutes and some serious cuddling, he looked like this:
That’s our little champ. He bounced back beautifully, and even stayed happy through lunch and shopping.
So now the after care starts. Adam’s lip is pretty swollen today and we’re dealing with keeping the pain at a minimum. We also have to make sure the lip doesn’t reattach, so for the next few weeks we have to stretch his lip upward three times a day. So far it’s gone well. Adam doesn’t like having his mouth messed with but it doesn’t seem to hurt him. In the end, I’m glad we had the procedure done. I’m glad I have this knowledge now. When we have other kids, I know that he or she will be getting checked for lip and tongue ties before we ever leave the hospital.
Live and learn.