I recently wrote a very honest post about my personal experience with lip and tongue ties and how our medical culture and society handles them poorly. Now, post revision the feelings are never truer.
I would be lying if I said I had no doubts the revision was a good choice for my daughter. She was, at the time it was done, well over three years old. Had she been a small infant we could have walked in, had her tongue tie revised, and left. Because of her age and temperament however her dentist and I felt it best to sedate.
She was already well into speech and making steady progress. Maybe at this point it was just better to keep her in speech and resolve her delay that way, I sometimes wondered.
It took at least three months to even get it approved through her insurance. I was beginning to think it would be an out of pocket expense and I was not sure I had it in me to pay it. In the end they did finally approve it and we made a long trip trip to Charleston to get it revised with one of the very few state providers who use laser for the procedure. To say I was shocked when I finally got home with my daughter is the understatement of the year.
I am a realistic kind of person. Though I ultimately thought the revision was for the better, I was under no illusions that our problems would magically dissipate post procedure. When they did, I could hardly believe it. Below are some of the biggest changes we experienced, and surprising still, many of them were not just in speech, although I will address it first.
When I took my child to speech therapy for the first time, her therapist asked a series of questions. I was almost ashamed of my answer to one of them. She asked how much I understood my daughter when she was talking to me. I said with a sigh that it was about 30% on a good day. After a few months in therapy it jumped about 20% which I was very happy with. After her revision, I could in less than a full days times understand her at least 80% of the time. Not only that, but my child’s vocabulary was huge compared to what I thought. She knew words, she just could not say them!
Toddlers are a trial of patience no matter how you slice it. My own felt like a magnified version. We suffered fits of anger and violence some days. Sometimes I would just cry with frustration. Was it age appropriate? Sure. It was however magnified by her inability to communicate properly. I was not the only one frustrated, she was unbelievably frustrated. I can’t imagine having a head full of words with no way to say them. I think I would go crazy too. After the improvement in speech, her behavior improved equally. She is still three, but at least we can make meaningful steps in solving her problems through communication.
At every therapy session my child would eventually button her lips and refuse to talk anymore. I imagine she was both tired and frustrated and just decided to stop. Post revision this went away completely. She was no longer hesitant to talk and repeat words and sounds. Her therapist asked if I thought it was in her getting more comfortable or in an increase in confidence. I know it is the latter. She also is more social. She talks to her peers and plays more because they can understand her better. She talks to other adults. My very good friend said it best,”She talks to my husband now! She never did that before.”
This one perhaps surprised me the most. I figured after 3 years nursing I would see little or no change in how she nursed. I was wrong. When we got home from her surgery I lay down with her to nurse her back to sleep. It felt like nothing. I could barely tell she was breastfeeding at all. Her latch was so loose feeling. This change was consistent and not a product of her drowsy disposition. Her latch remained perfect until she self weaned a few months later. I am almost sad. Though breastfeeding was not difficult for the majority of our time doing it, I can’t imagine how nice it would have been if her tie was not there.
The moral of the story is that a revision, particularly if you are already experiencing any problems, is so worth it! I don’t regret for a minute my choice to do it. We did have some very manageable soreness, much I attribute to using a muscle, which a tongue is, in a whole new way. She noticed her ‘new tongue’ immediately and was so happy about it. She proudly sticks her tongue out and moves it about to show me she can. My child is much happier and healthier and so am I. She has finally found her voice.