1. Aucoin, Julia W. DNS, RN, C

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The article "Cleft Lip and Palate" (March) was wonderful. Twenty years ago, our first son was born with a cleft palate. We weren't given any of the options suggested by Kim S. Uhrich and Amy L. Mackin in their article. We spent the first night after he was born without seeing or holding our son. Can you conceive of the horrors my imagination-that of a nurse's and mother's-produced during the long, sleepless night worrying about my newborn?


No one taught us feeding techniques, and, at the time, reconstructive surgery was only suggested in children age 4 or 5. We experienced much frustration when trying to convince health care providers to conduct surgery on our son when he was 13 months-and I'm a nurse who could have been trusted to provide good postop care. My son developed repeated ear infections, which required multiple doses of antibiotics, leading to one hospitalization for thrombocytopenia. Today, my son is a wonderful, articulate adult, and our experience and difficulties in caring for our son are mere memories.


All nurses who provide care to infants with a cleft lip or palate should consult this article's section on "Finding the Right Words" to help reassure and inform new parents. Thank you for the best article I've ever read on this little-discussed area of nursing care.


Julia W. Aucoin, DNS, RN, C