A Belgrade father and son are no strangers to the struggle they’ve both shared due to cleft lip and palate, but even so, they’re celebrating how far they’ve come and the challenges they’ve made it through.
“He’ll be okay,” said Brandon Taylor. “I know what he’s going to go through so I can help him.”
Brandon, Alisha, and their two-year-old son, Brantley reside in Belgrade.
“He’s rambunctious as you can tell, he loves climbing on things, and he absolutely loves cars,” said Brandon.
Brandon says it’s a life of leisure Brantley has earned.
“He’s had a busy two years,” said Brandon. “He’s already had three surgeries.”
During the first ultrasound, the Taylor’s were hit with news that would change their lives forever.
Brantley would be born with cleft lip and palate just like his dad.
“I was devastated,” said Brandon. “Knowing my own struggles growing up—I was bullied, I had poor speech, and I was always self-conscious of my face, so it was hard hearing that news.”
Knowing Brantley would need specialized care, the Taylors reached out to the Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
This is where they met Medical Director Dr. Gregory Allen.
The decision ended up being a lifesaver because Brantley was born three weeks early and was in the NICU in Billings for 32 days. During that time, Dr. Allen and the team at Children’s Colorado helped the family through issues like feeding.
“That was Brantley's biggest issue was learning to feed and gain weight,” said Dr. Allen.
At six months old, it was time for Brantley’s first surgery to repair his lip. His second surgery was for his palate. That’s when Dr. Allen found another issue.
“He had a specialized hearing test that confirmed he did have a significant hearing loss on both sides,” said Dr. Allen.
Now Brantley wears a cochlear implant to help him.
And even though Brantley has faced many struggles in his two years of life, Dr. Allen says his recovery has been inspiring.
“I think that’s one of the things that attracts me to the job is how well Brantley has done despite the challenges he’s faced,” said Dr. Allen.
“He even told us when they closed his palate, he had to stop and take a second look at his lip because he was like, ‘wow that came together really well’”, said Brandon.
Today, Brantley only needs to visit Dr. Allen once a year for a checkup.
“I just hope he can grow up and do whatever he wants to do in life with no limitations,” said Brandon.