Smile of Hope

“To NCFPI, thank you for giving Savannah the smile we thought we will never see.” – Ms. Melbylene Broqueza (Mother of NCFPI patient)

“Naku, ngot-bi”—the exact word I heard from the surgeon when I was in the operating room for my caesarean delivery to my second born.

I thought I was just delusional; I closed my eyes and thought maybe I was just dreaming and what I heard wasn’t right. I was full of vitamins and checkups at my Ob-Gyn. My eldest was also normal, same with me and my partner, so I told myself, “This cannot be.” Until I was in the recovery room and the nurse approached me, “Did you know your baby has a cut like this?” pointing to her lips trying not to tell the word bingot). I answered yes, I overheard from the doctors.

She interviewed me with so many questions about my pregnancy and if I or my partner had relatives who had the same condition and I said I couldn’t think of. Then, they brought me to ward where my partner was waiting. The moment I saw him, my tears came out of my eyes as if it would never stop. I just cried and cried and couldn’t even tell my partner our baby’s condition. And he asked why while comforting me.

Words were not coming out even though I wanted to tell him. He asked, “May diperensiya ‘yung anak natin? Alam ko na, alam na namin. Sinabi ng doktor kanina.” I was scared for our child. How she would conquer this, what would happen to her future. How she would grow up well with self-esteem and survive the judgment of other people. I wouldn’t stand if someone bullies her because of her condition.

Then my partner said this to me, “We are here for her; we will not allow her to experience what you fear. We will make a way to fix what is wrong with her.” It slowly calmed me down and I prayed to the Lord to help us get through this.

A week after, we started searching for institutions or foundations that could help with my daughter’s condition. We searched through the internet—inquired through hospitals and friends who might know one. Then we went to a hospital nearby our town; they were giving free surgery to children born with cleft lip. They were near and free but there was still a problem—the hospital would do the surgery if my baby turns one year old; and they could only do lip surgery but not the cleft palate.

We could not go for it because Savannah was born with complete bilateral cleft lip and palate so we searched for another option which led us to NCFPI. That’s the start of our journey to my baby girl’s sweet smile. So far, Savannah had successfully undergone her lip surgery which we are very happy about. The doctors, nurses, social workers, and sponsors were the greatest and my family was more than grateful and thankful for the help they gave us.

To NCFPI, thank you for giving Savannah the smile that we thought we will never see. You gave us all the hopes that the future will still be fair and bright for our God’s greatest gift. My family and I will never stop thanking you for everything. May God bless all the doctors, nurses, social workers, and sponsors for their legacy. Glory be to the Lord.

#bawatpinoymayngiti #lovemakeswhole #noordhoffjourney #cleftadvocacy #cleftstrong #cleftsmile #cleftlipandpalate #cleftproud