Thursday, January 15, 2009


Speechless or confused in expression, as from shyness, embarrassment, or astonishment: this is what you may think of as the definition of "tongue-tied".

It is most commonly used as a figure of speech for the inability to form words. My son, however, was born Tongue-Tied. It is a birth defect where a web of skin holds the tip of the tongue down to the floor of the mouth, restricting tongue movement. In my son's case, he couldn't stick his tongue out past his bottom teeth. And with his second birthday fast approaching and his vocabulary developing it was time to free him of this.

Yesterday my son had a Frenulectomy. A quick procedure where he was put to sleep for about 10-15 minutes and the doctor used a cauterizer to remove the excess skin, he then applied a few stitches and that was it. It sounds simple enough, but the act of waiting with my son on the hospital bed before the surgery was not so simple. I could feel my heart catching in my chest every time I thought about him being taken away for the surgery. I'm sure he was a little confused as to why it was still dark as we headed to the surgery center and why he didn't get to eat or drink anything yet. My husband and I would pull things out of my purse (a constant source of entertainment, apparently) to keep him busy. Lipstick, ear plugs, and hand sanitizer dazzled him for a little bit which was a blessing.

Then they took him.

The nurse said they would take good care of him as she wrapped him in a warm blanket and walked away with him. He didn't cry. He didn't squirm. But I was squirming inside. Even though it was minor surgery there is just something devastating about having my baby taken away to have a piece of him removed. Even a very small piece.

After about 10 minutes the doctor came out to the waiting room - where I was trying to keep my mind off of it all by reading up on celebrity home offices in a Domino magazine - and he said that it went great, and that in a few minutes we would get to see our boy after he begins to stir. Sure enough about 5 minutes later we went to see him. He looked like he had been sleeping for hours with red cheeks and squinty eyes. I got to hold him as he slowly woke up and it's moments like that that make me feel so honored to be a mom.

He is healing very nicely and after about a week he can start to eat harder and crunchier foods. With his mouth a little sore and feeling a bit strange, he hasn't been talking a lot or sticking out his tongue, but I did see it peek out past his teeth for the first time of his life and a tear rolled down my cheek.


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Wow, I am so happy that J is doing much better! How exciting to see his progress!

Towanda said...

Even though you were scared when they carried him away to the surgery, this was such a good decision and just the right time to have it done. The best part is that kids heal very fast!

Kelly said...

Thank you! I know it really was the best decision and he is already making great progress. Today he has almost returned to his old self and I am able to see an increase in his communication. The surgery has made quite a difference and was worth the fear I had.

heather said...

Ahhh, sweet little guy!

Funny that you write this because when we recently took A to the dentist he mentioned a bit of skin on the inside of his top lip that we will have to have clipped at some point. Yes, it makes a mother's heart nervous!