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Before and After – The Gallery


Tara over at Sticky Fingers wants Before and After photos this week and my initial thoughts were to show you how far we’ve got with our bathroom but then I had a Mari brainwave which doesn’t happen often so best to jump on the bandwagon when they do appear.

The most beautiful boy in the world

I was 21 when my first child and only son came into the world and living away from my family I was ill prepared, no let me correct that. I Didn’t Have A Clue. Never a one to be a keen babysitter or one to ‘ohh and ahh’ over babies in the street, in fact I don’t think I ever spent a second thought on babies before I discovered I was pregnant. I was one of the small minority that took the pill but on advice of a close friend, came off for a couple of months “to give my body a rest” (WHY?????)

 Too late in the day for those contemplations, Thomas came into my world on the 26th March 1988 as the winter snow was melting from the ski pistes surrounding Folgaria and after a long and exhausting labour. In fact back in those days in Italy there was no pain relief At All. You just got on with it. In fact I was so tired at the end that for the last pushes my gynecologist Dott. Giovanni Gorga, a remarkable and very respected man, grabbed hold of the opposite side of the bed just below my rib cage where Thomas’s bottom poking up and with all his strength he pushed down with his arm forcing the baby towards the exit. It worked and Thomas was born at 3.08 am.

Elated it was over and too tired to do anything but lie there, I glanced over at the new dad only to see a very worried expression on his face. Dott. Gorga caught my eye and told me it was nothing to worry about so I lay back whilst the birthing process was completed.

As soon as Thomas had been washed, dried, measured and checked he was dressed and brought over to me for my first cuddle. Now I realise many mums looking may flinch, or be repulsed but I promise you with all my heart, I was handed the most beautiful baby in the world and right on cue the little fella, ‘spoke’ to me. He looked me in the eyes and started to babble nonstop, it made me smile and brought tears to my eyes as he seemed to have so much to explain to me all at once.

Proud (and serious) mummy

Thomas was taken away to the incubator as happens with all babies and I was given a ‘camomila’ to quench my thirst. Enrico, my partner was in a right state and worried for the future of his son he couldn’t sit still, he shot back up the mountain to wake his mother and give her the news and to discover if any relatives as far as she could go back had this ‘Labbro Leporino’

A what? I hear you ask. Precisely, I didn’t have a clue and never in my life till then had even heard of a hair lip and cleft palate. It’s only when something like this does happen that you actually find out more. It’s not life threatening, they don’t know what causes it. It’s a missed gene in the cosmetic make up of a baby, nobody could tell me and on talking with my own family nobody, not even my great grandmother still alive back then, could ever remember a hair lip in the family and we have documents dating the family on one side back to 15oo’s.

We were directed to the hospital in Vicenza where at the time Prof Curioni led the maxilofaciale ward. He barely glanced at my boy, booked him in for his first check up. he would have the lip and epiglottis sewn up at 6 months in one operation, he would have his cleft palate operated at 18 months once the child had grown a bit and allowing more space to work in the cavity of his mouth. He would have a bone transplant from his hip to his gum where the split was at 8 years old (this would mean also removal of the tonsils earlier) and he would wear a brace basically for his entire school years whilst they were all kept in place. A final nose job would be performed if he wished at 18+.

Tommy became something of a star as everyone in the village ran to see this little boy with his funny lip, he would break out in enormous smiles to anyone who approached him. Most people were kind but there were a few who couldn’t contain their ignorance and their curiosity but Thomas was loved and being such a bonny happy child he never struggled to make friends. Also being in such a tight-knit community the children at school were all his friends, although on occasions he would be ridiculed it never became a problem for us over all and Thomas learnt to give as good as he got.

Nowadays Thomas still lives in Folgaria, he works in the family hotel, he lives a normal life and from what I hear has many friends both male and female. A passionate skier and kite surfer when he gets time I am proud to have followed this journey with him and to have been shown a side of life I would never have known hadn’t it been for him.

I am also a passionate follower of the charity Smile Train and should you be inclined to make a donation you could turn around a little boy or girls’ life who may not be as fortunate as Thomas was and not have the love and support of a family and community around him.

My special grown up lad xx

17 Comments leave one →
  1. 17/11/2010 10:23 am

    What a beautiful, moving story Mari. Gorgeous photos as well. x

    • 17/11/2010 2:32 pm

      Thank you. It was nice to share the story at long last, Tara offered the perfect opportunity x

  2. 17/11/2010 10:42 am

    What a great story … and what a handsome chap!

    My daughter was born with a birth mark on her face. My husband saw it, but I never saw it when I looked at her, I just saw my beautiful girl.

    • 17/11/2010 2:34 pm

      I am obviously biased and will agree with you that he is very handsome chap 🙂 I know that feeling when you look at your children for the first time, nothing in the world can beat it, a special moment saved in your heeart for eternity

  3. 17/11/2010 10:55 am

    Oh I’m so pleased I came over to read this. A heart-warming story – and what a beautiful baby and man Thomas is.

    • 17/11/2010 2:36 pm

      Thanks for coming by and I’m glad it wasn’t wasted time. We all adore our children and they need to be celebrated more often. he was also the most trying of all my chuildren, the one who stood at 6 months, climbed out of his cot at 8 months and walked at 10 months. He kept me on my toes all the time but I wouldn’t change a thing

  4. 17/11/2010 4:02 pm

    The bit out of this that most amazes me: he stood at 6 months???! You must have been exhausted! Lovely photos and a great story. Thank you. A friend of mine has two (out of three) with severe clefts. When number three was born, and the doctor said she was fine, neither of them believed him. In fact, before either of them bothered to find out whether she was a girl or a boy, her husband had his hand in her mouth in astonishment!

    • 17/11/2010 4:11 pm

      I kid you not, he stood at 6 months in his cot shouting for me to come and get him and yes I was exhausted, he was also very accident prone and always managed to get his lip or nearby! Typical!
      We were very worried that megan wold be born hair lip too but decided to not bother with special scans after all it wouldn’t have changed anything. I’m amazed they had two children though, the stats must be pretty low for that happening. Lovely to hear their last child was cleft free, more for all the operations and hospital time so draining.

  5. 17/11/2010 6:39 pm

    What a lovely post. The first photo made me smile, we had a knitted scarecrow just like that too. x

    • 19/11/2010 1:41 pm

      Sadly we lost ours soon after Thomas was born 😦 My nan made it especially for him

  6. 17/11/2010 9:16 pm

    My god daughter was born with this and I remember thinking how odd she looked when she had her repair. She is a beautiful womna now and could couldnt tell. Thank you for sharing

    • 19/11/2010 1:42 pm

      As his mother I’m always aware but so many other people including family members note how you can’t tell now. I’m happy for him. thasnk for your comment

  7. 18/11/2010 2:31 pm

    I loved reading this, thank you SO MUCH for sharing, you have given a big smile today when I really needed it:) Jen

  8. Chrisian permalink
    27/11/2010 6:00 pm

    The pictures of touched lives. Thank goodness for humanitarians, and thank goodness for Smile Train.


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