The father of a boy born with a ʙɪʟᴀᴛᴇʀᴀʟ ᴄʟᴇꜰᴛ ʟɪᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴀʟᴀᴛᴇ was sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ when a friend told him that the father of two would certainly understand if someone in a similar situation decided to ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀᴛᴇ the pregnancy. The father protected his son and broke off contact with his friend.
Matt Martin, 32, is a baker and independent filmmaker from Dallas, Texas. He and his wife welcomed their twins on April 3, 2018. The boys, Cam Dawson Martin and Jack Carson Martin, were born by ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ as planned, but when Matt held Cam for the first time, he was in for a huge surprise.
“I didn’t know exactly what I was seeing. It was clear that there was something wrong with his face, but I had never seen anything like it before. He just cried and cried and I just wanted to help him. I have never felt so helpless in my life,” the father said.
The parents had no idea that little Cam would be born with a ᴄʟᴇꜰᴛ ʟɪᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴀʟᴀᴛᴇ. “Because they’re twins, it was difficult to get a good sonogram of both of them,” explained Matt, who, knowing nothing about this disorder, was initially terrified.
Shortly after he was born, Cam was admitted to the N.I.C.U, where doctors made sure the little boy would be able to eat despite the disorder. Two days later, they returned him to her parents and apologized to them for not noticing the abnormality earlier in the pregnancy so that the parents could be better prepared.
However, the father loved both of his little boys equally, and the fact that Cam was a little different from other babies did not interest him at all. However, not everyone was like that. A few months after the twins were born, Matt was on a group chat and his friends started arguing about ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄs.
“The two began arguing about ᴀʙᴏʀᴛɪᴏɴ, and one of my ‘friends’ interjected that Matt must understand why someone might want an ᴀʙᴏʀᴛɪᴏɴ. If you had known that Cam was born with a ᴄʟᴇꜰᴛ ʟɪᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴀʟᴀᴛᴇ, you would have decided to have an ᴀʙᴏʀᴛɪᴏɴ. Or, at least, you understand why someone in a similar situation would make such a decision,” Matt recalled the conversation.
The father was very surprised by the comment and from that day on he did not speak to the person again. “At best, he said it just to get some kind of reaction out of me and get me into the conversation. At worst, he really thinks we should have aborted our son. Either way, he’s not someone I want to be friends with,” Matt said, adding, “I’m a Christian and my religious beliefs support my personal beliefs.”
Fortunately, there was a solution to Cam’s ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀ. As a temporary solution, he received a so-called ɴᴀsᴏᴀʟᴠᴇᴏʟᴀʀ ᴍᴏʟᴅɪɴɢ ᴅᴇᴠɪᴄᴇ – this is a plastic plate that is used before operations to reduce the severity of the cleft. Matt and his wife (whom they have since divorced) learned to feed the baby and to clean the plastic plate covering his palate, so they were doing great even before the sᴜʀɢᴇʀɪᴇs.
Cam has had three sᴜʀɢᴇʀɪᴇs so far, but has at least one more to go.
“The cleft lip was operated on when he was 3 months old, and the surgery on his palate was done when he was a year and a half old. He will also receive a bone graft in a few years. Everything has gone smoothly so far, he has an incredible surgeon,” explained Matt, who says that his son is not disabled and is no less than anyone else.
The father hopes that by sharing his story, he may be able to help others and open people’s eyes.
Cam and his twin brother, Jack, turned 4 in April 2022 and will start kindergarten this fall. Matt is very proud of his son and described Cam as “funny, artistic, a little cheeky sometimes, and really cute.”
He also said that while the disorder may have defined his son’s early years, it will not define his entire life.
“He’s an incredible kid and I can’t wait to see what kind of person he becomes and what life has in store for him,” Matt added.