LWB Community Blog

LWB’s 2019 Cleft Exchange – Day Three

Happy Day Three everyone!  Our team had another wonderful day in Lanzhou, with 9 children receiving surgery.  First up, of course, was morning rounds, to make sure every child who had surgery the day before was doing well post-op.  Two-second summary – they are!

Kamryn’s lip repair looks absolutely beautiful, as you can see below.  We don’t think her dad has let her out of his arms yet, and his eyes truly shine as he holds and rocks her. It’s wonderful to see.

Cue the Stevie Wonder “Isn’t She Lovely” lyrics

Baby Jade, who gave huge smiles before surgery to everyone who met him, was recovering well from his operation the day before as well. While he’s not quite healed enough to burst into a full grin just yet, he was able to take some milk from a spoon bottle, much to the relief of mom. She is so happy that her little boy’s surgery is now behind him. Jade’s daddy wasn’t able to be with him at the hospital as he’s a migrant worker living very far away. He can only come home to see his family at Spring Festival and the fall harvest.  We know he’s going to be so excited to see new photos of his son.

Jade before and after surgery

Finley was also doing great this morning, and his parents are absolutely thrilled with his repair. Just look at that handsome little face!

Gorgeous Finley post-surgery

So would you like to meet some of the children getting surgery today?  Because you know we’d love to introduce them to you.

First up in Dr. Buckmiller’s OR today was Rylan, who took her very first long-distance train ride from her orphanage to meet our team.  The nanny who came with her is new to the institution, so she didn’t know a lot about Rylan yet. She did tell us that Rylan only slept 30 minutes on the all-day journey as she was so excited to look out the window and see herself in the reflection.  Many young children in orphanages never have a chance to see themselves in mirrors, and her nanny said Rylan LOVED looking in the big mirror at the hotel as well.  Our whole team has fallen in love with this little girl who craves being held.

As we mentioned on the blog yesterday, Rylan is quite tiny for her age, weighing just 6 kg at 18-months old.  Rylan gave everyone in the OR an enormous scare this morning when she went into distress being put under anesthesia. Thankfully the team was able to get her stabilized, and her surgery could proceed. Dr. Buckmiller said it was a very complex repair due to the severity of the wide bilateral cleft.  Please keep Rylan in your thoughts over the next few days as she continues to recover.

Tiny Rylan

Also on the schedule today was a handsome baby named Blake. He has a large extended family who clearly adore him. In fact, they all showed up today at the hospital in support!  He had a whole cheering squad to keep him entertained before surgery, including grandparents, aunts, and even his teenage uncle.  They were so engaged with him in the waiting room, playing and making him laugh.

When Blake’s family found out on ultrasound that he had a cleft lip, his dad decided he needed to move to a different city to find work in order to make sure his little boy would be cared for. Blake’s dad misses him so much, however, and really hopes he can find a job closer to home so he can see Blake more.

Blake ready to head to the OR

Everything went smoothly in the OR, and Blake was resting comfortably when our team left for the day.

Blake post-op

We’d also like to introduce you to Jordan, a baby girl who has not stopped smiling since arriving in Lanzhou.

Jordan’s family has a story similar to many who live in the rural areas of Gansu. Just by reading this blog, you’re probably noticing a pattern. Her father also had to move very far from home, on the whole other side of China, to find work. He comes home only twice a year to see his wife and three little girls.  There are an estimated 288 million rural migrant workers in China, which is 1/3 of the working population!

Jordan is here in Lanzhou with her grandmother, who said Jordan needs additional love and care since she was born with cleft.  It’s obvious she’s getting all that and more. Oh how we love double chins on babies with cleft!

Jordan fast asleep before her operation 

Unfortunately we had one little boy not able to have surgery today. Ten-month-old Rory got removed from the OR schedule because a high white blood count we discovered at intake still hasn’t gone down. Please be thinking of this adorable little guy as his whole family came from several hours away in order for him to have this chance at surgery. Rory is child number FIVE in the family, and everyone is hoping he can still have his bilateral lip repaired this week with our team.

Rory and his devoted daddy

Because Rory wasn’t able to stay on the OR schedule today, one-year-old Peyton was moved into his spot. Peyton is a very active little boy who remains pretty suspicious of our team, despite our best efforts to win him over.

Peyton was found abandoned as a baby, very weak and malnourished, and the couple who discovered him late in the night are now his adoptive parents!  They feel he was most likely left on his own because of his cleft lip, but can’t imagine their lives without him. They traveled over 500 km to see our team.

Peyton right before going back to the OR

Peyton was last on the surgery schedule today, so we don’t have any photos of him back on the ward, but you know we will share some tomorrow.

Well, this blog is probably getting longer than it should be, in our “short as possible” social media world, so we will sign off for today.  Here are a few more of our favorite images from Day Three.  THANK YOU to everyone who makes LWB’s work possible.  We think you are rock stars for helping change lives every day.

Split Pants!

Until tomorrow!

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