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Chaichana ‘Natee’ Chantasane



Chaichana ‘Natee’ Chantasane

Story written by Kristopher Hall

Parents know the excitement of an ultrasound appointments with the chance to see the baby that has been the focus of every waking hour since they first knew he was coming; There is a flutter of expectation at learning more about him by a glimpse of his face or maybe counting some fingers, but there is also a little tinge of fear at learning that there is a problem. Parents know the apprehension of looking at the little screen and waiting for the doctor to say, “Everything looks good,” because they know that not every parent hears those words.

On the fifth month of pregnancy, Chaichana’s parents heard that he had a cleft lip. Like most mothers who only want the best for their child, Chaichana’s mother held out hope that maybe the blurred image of her tiny baby was wrong, and that he would be just fine. She waited nervously for the next 3 months, but at 8 months it was undeniable that her baby would be born different. Worried that she wouldn’t know how to care for him, she spent the final month of her pregnancy not happily preparing blankets and diapers, but frantically researching the internet to learn how to care for her infant. After Chaichana was born, she had to cope with his difficulty breastfeeding. She could only feed him using a bottle, all the time worrying about the other difficulties that his life would bring him.

Luckily, Operation Smile was contacted by Sisaket hospital, and because of the seriousness of his condition, Chaichana was offered free surgery. Since the surgery, Chaichana is a happy and active baby who is always smiling and laughing, which certainly brings a smile to his mother’s face. Life is not completely carefree now, however as his parents have since divorced, and his mother must remain at home to feed her little boy who will still have difficulty eating until the next surgery to fix his palate. This leaves only his grandmother to support five people with sewing work.

In spite of all the hardships and worry, Chaichana’s mother is still so happy knowing that her son will soon receive his next surgery from Operation Smile and will be able to live a normal life full of the opportunities and happiness that every mother wants for her baby boy.



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