Stories about: Stephen Shusterman

Vivian’s story: From baby with a cleft lip to confident adult

Vivian shares her story of cleft lip repair.Silvia Pereira was pregnant for the first time in 1986 when a routine ultrasound revealed that she was carrying a baby girl with a cleft lip. In her early twenties and newly emigrated from Honduras, Silvia decided to keep the condition a secret because she was unsure of how her family would react. “I didn’t even know what a cleft lip was; I didn’t care how she came out; I just wanted my baby.”

When baby Vivian arrived, her husband Dennis was in disbelief: “If you’ve never seen a cleft lip, it’s pretty shocking. I asked myself, what’s going on? Is this my fault, is it my genes?”

Twenty-eight years later, Vivian reflects on her birth story: “Luck was never on my side. My first obstacle in life was being born.”

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