Thursday marked Jackson's final NAM appointment. Instead of taking the train down, my mom and I ended up driving, primarily due to the fact that Jackson had 3 appointments to make, the first one at 10am.
At 10am we met with his otolaryngologist (ENT - ear, nose & throat) to discuss the placement of tubes in his ears at the same time as his lip and nose surgery. This is common practice so that they only have to administer anesthesia once. Babies with clefts have an increased risk for ear infections and the tubes lessen the risk of hearing loss.
Directly following his ENT appointment, Jackson had a physical done with a doctor from the plastic surgery team that will be performing his surgery. Typically lip & nose repair surgery is considered outpatient surgery, allowing the baby to go home the same day. It turns out, however, that since Jackson was a preemie, the anesthesiologists would like to keep him overnight for observation.
Our final appointment was at 1pm - his final NAM appointment. It is crazy to think we are almost done with the NAM process. The results have been phenomenal! Jackson started out with little to no columella (the horizontal column at the base of the nose separating the nostrils). This is common in cleft patients and can cause the nose to appear 'smashed' after the repair. The nasal stint part of the NAM process helps to stretch the columella thus allowing for a much more normal looking nose repair. Having said that, Jackson now has 5 mm of columella (6-7 mm is normal length)! Not only that, his gum line is gap-free! We are so thankful for those of you who contributed to the NAM process for Jackson - at his appointment Thursday the NAM was "PAID IN FULL". We couldn't have done this without your support.
So now we eagerly await May 1st. We will head down south after Daniel gets off work on Wednesday, check into our hotel two blocks from the hospital, and wait for the phone call that tells us what time to arrive at the hospital the next morning for his surgery. The surgery, including tube placement, is calculated to take about 4 hours, then Jackson will go into recovery. We will be waiting with him in recovery until he wakes up. He will most likely stay Thursday night in the hospital for observation and we will head home on Friday.
It's crazy to think we will never see his face again as it is now. It's the face and wide smile we've grown to know and love. But we are also excited for this next, very necessary step. Please keep us in your prayers, praying that Jackson stays healthy this week (surgery will be postponed if he gets sick), that surgery will be smooth and Jackson's recovery will be quick. We will update again following his surgery.