Though the infant isn’t flawless, its parents will always think the world of

Science shows that approximately 1 in 2,000 people are born with a rare genetic disorder, highlighting the incredible diversity and complexity of human biology.

Courtney and Gavin Gardner, parents of a special daughter, share their inspiring experience on social networks about what it’s like to have a child with a cleft lip to help other families going through the same thing.

Courtney and Gavin Gardner welcomed their daughter, Sutton, who was born with a cleft lip. Courtney was concerned about the health of her second child and spent entire nights praying that everything would be okay. In the 20th week of her pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that Sutton had a cleft lip. Gavin was in shock upon receiving the news.

“The last part they did was the ultrasound on her face, and then the specialist said, ‘Oh, she really has a cleft lip.’ This could happen,” says Courtney. Cleft lip and palate are rare conditions affecting 1 in 1,600 babies and occur when a baby’s lips or mouth do not develop normally during pregnancy. This can be caused by various factors, such as food or drugs that the mother took, but it can also be due to a genetic predisposition.

After the Gardners welcomed their first son, they regretted not doing a special photo shoot with him. When Courtney became pregnant again, she knew she wanted to capture every moment of her new daughter. Photographer Shannon Morton took the photos, which the parents later shared on social networks. One of the photos quickly gained popularity and collected over 10,000 likes within hours. Over the next few days, the number of likes increased to an impressive 750,000.

Courtney says all the comments about her daughter have been kind and encouraging, with most people saying how beautiful she is. The post inspired many people to share their stories and photos. The Gardners were motivated to create their own Facebook page, My Cleft Cutie, to help other parents who are going through a similar diagnosis with their children. “My little princess was born with a bilateral cleft. Fortunately, her palate was intact. Daddy and I assure her every day that she is the most beautiful girl in the world and her personality is amazing,” commented a mother under the Facebook post.

The parents are worried about their daughter’s health but are also very grateful to the hospital, which is helping them immensely during this incredible journey. Sutton’s cleft palate made bottle feeding a real challenge, and she spent the first 18 days of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit. The little girl is expected to undergo the first of a series of surgeries in just a matter of days, with the next one when she turns one. Specialists are adamant that intensive work with a speech therapist will be necessary.

“Although things are scary and may seem bleak in this initial period for little Sutton, this is actually a condition that is 100% treatable and manageable,” says Courtney. Her parents describe her as very social, lively, smiling, and truly happy, especially when her older brother is by her side. And they hope that one day this story will be just a memory of the past.

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