WASHIGNTON COUNTY, Md. - Merits Medical Center says they only see about one child born with a bilateral cleft lip palate per year. One family in Hagerstown struggles with constant visits to children's national hospital after their daughter was born with one.
Felicia Rudisill's daughter Annabella Tierney was born on October 14 of 2016. Before giving birth, doctors knew Annabella would have a bilateral cleft lip palate but did not know the severity
“The whole roof of her mouth is open. She has no roof,”
And one nostril. This created a challenge for the care of Annabella.
“They actually kept her in the nursery for a few extra days. And I would go back everyday...everyday. Every feeding. Every three hours and I would make sure I was the one to feed her because I know I could feed her,” Rudisill said.
Since being born, Annabella makes visits to the children’s national hospital every three weeks, paying sixty dollars for every visit and can go through 25 bibs from drooling in a day.
Felicia has to buy Annabella a special bottle that has a blue piece at the nipple to slow down the flow. They aren’t sold in stores so she has to order it online.
“But when she heals up, maybe kids wont look at her like that, Like ‘what’s wrong with her’ It just breaks my heart sometimes,” Rudisill said.
Felicia believes families and children should be more educated on children with special needs
Next month Annabella is scheduled to have surgery to start the process of reconstructing her lip.
“She’s a total normal baby. She just looks a little different,” Rudisill said.
She will have surgery again when she is 12 months and needs to take a piece of her hip bone to finish up the reconstruction when she is eight.