When Cynthia Fajardo’s daughter, Betzabeth, was born, she was “shocked” by her daughter’s appearance.
Betzabeth was born with a Tessier cleft palate and cleft lip, which left an inch-long gap between her eyes and upper lip.
“It was like a big hole in the middle of her face,” Fajardo said. “The hole was so large that you could see her tonsils.”Betzabeth's Story
Betzabeth spent the first two months of her life in Le Bonheur’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before finally going home. When she was 6-months-old, she returned to Le Bonheur where surgeons from the hospital’s craniofacial program repaired her cleft palate and lip and closed the hole.
In the last seven years, Betzabeth, 7, has had 11 surgeries, including multiple lip repairs and adjustments to her orbital bones. She also had distracter devices implanted, which slowly repositioned her facial plates. In December, she’s scheduled to undergo another surgery where Le Bonheur doctors will cut the facial bones and move them closer together to form a more pronounced bridge for her nose.
“It’s amazing how she talks because if you would have seen her when she was born, there’s no way you would have thought she’s able to speak as clearly and as well as she does right now,” Fajardo said.
After 11 surgeries, Fajardo is confident Betzabeth will live a typical, healthy childhood.
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