This week I’m not going to talk about baby boy fashion or about Braveheart’s heart, but rather about something we don’t discuss much. His vocal cord. When Braveheart was born, he had a healthy, loud cry. After that, we didn’t hear him cry again until after his first surgery, and what we heard was not the cry you’d expect from a baby. It was breathy and weak, almost silent. A squeak of sorts. Rather heartbreaking, really.
Finding out that Braveheart had a paralyzed vocal cord as a complication of surgery was scary. We wondered: would our baby ever be able to cry again? Will he be able to speak? What we didn’t know is that vocal cords are also incredibly important for breathing and eating. So his cries and speech were the least of our worries.
Because of his vocal cord paralysis, Braveheart aspirated liquids when he was younger. Basically, he inhaled the liquids, i.e. his milk, into his lungs. As you can imagine, this is dangerous. To avoid aspiration, he had to be fed with an NG tube for the first couple of months earthside, and we gave him very thick liquids that he had to practically ‘chew’. [I will write a separate blog about tube feeding and thickening liquids sometime]. That was an adventure within itself!
In the video below, you can hear what his cry sounded like at nearly 2 months old. (He also had a rather pronounced tongue-tie… see if you can spot it).
Since then, our little man’s voice has improved a whole lot. He’s even surprised himself with a loud yell of enthusiasm a few times.
This past Thursday, Braveheart had what we thought was supposed to be his last visit with the ENT doctor. She scoped his throat and we found out that one of his vocal cords is still not ‘perfect’. But you know what? He has an incredibly cute, raspy little voice. He still isn’t quite able to drink from fast flow nipples without choking/coughing, but he’s getting better at it. Slowly but surely. He cannot handle the flow of most sippy cups. But most importantly, he has no breathing issues and that is such an incredible blessing!
To us, he’s gotten so loud over the past months. So when we’re in public and people go “aww what a tiny little cry” or “aww his voice is so soft”, we look at them like “SOFT? He is LOUD!” Or we shush him in public when he’s crying and then realize that no one else heard him. lol.
All joking aside, there is still a chance that his vocal cord will continue to heal. He’s still young after all. There’s also a chance that it may never fully heal, and that’s okay too. For now, we’re taking things one step at a time. And honestly… I can’t imagine him havinga ‘normal’ voice, because it is soooo sweet and super cute!
Below you can sort of hear what he usually sounds like now. It’s the best I could record.
Did you know that vocal cord paralysis was a risk in heart surgery? I sure didn’t!
Thank you for reading!