ACPA Family Services

Cleft-Craniofacial Community Stories

Jasilyn Sitzmann

We were so excited when we learned we were having our first child. I had waited so long for this moment. My husband, Chad, and I had been together for seven years, and had made the decision to wait until we finished college and were settled before we started our family. The only thing that could take some of the joy away from this moment was the fact that Chad was preparing for his deployment to Iraq in just 2 days. It was probably the scariest time of my life, but knowing that I had a part of Chad growing inside of me made it easier.

My pregnancy went so well! There were no complications. I had the support of my best friend who was with me for every doctor’s visit. When it came time to find out the sex of the baby we had our doctor write it in a card and when Chad called we opened it together. We were so excited; we were having a baby girl! Chad would also be home in time for the birth, which was a huge blessing.

He arrived home to the U.S. when I was six months pregnant; we were both so happy. Things continued to go well with the pregnancy, and I went into labor one day after my due date. There were a few complications with the delivery and I had to be put under for an emergency C-section. A few minutes later Chad was given the news that we had our little girl, but there was one more thing, she had been born with a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate. Chad had to handle the news alone, as I was still in surgery. When he held his little girl for the first time, you can see by the pictures that were taken that he didn’t see the imperfection, just his beautiful baby, Jasilyn. He had chosen her name from the very beginning of the pregnancy. I awoke to my husband whispering in my ear that Jasilyn was here and fine, but she had a cleft. I just remember drifting out again in tears. The next day when I awoke I felt happy and thrilled to be a Mommy. God had filled me with such calm that it was almost strange. I knew that everything would be fine. God placed a song on my heart that I had heard only once in my pregnancy, but somehow I remembered it. It was about a Daddy that had just been told that his baby girl had been born healthy, but there was something he should know, she was born slightly less than perfect. But when her Daddy held her in his arms he only saw his beautiful baby girl. This was our story almost word for word, God made it clear that He was still with us and He was still in control. (“You’re Beautiful” by Bob Carlisle)

It’s been a whirlwind of a first year. Jasilyn has had 3 surgeries in seven months and is doing just great. To us she has blue eyes, blonde hair and a repaired cleft. It’s just something that happened, it’s not who she is. God continues to remind me of all the blessings we have, and that we have everything we ever wished for and more. Jasilyn is a beautiful ten month old both inside and out.

Each day I thank God for her beautiful smile that can light up a room. People are drawn to Jasilyn and her precious personality, we can see it already. She is such a special little girl, and I am just so thankful that God has allowed me to be her Mommy.

Jasilyn will also be a big sister soon. We’re expecting our 2nd child in February and we are so excited. We find out soon if this baby will also have a cleft. All we pray for is a healthy child, a cleft can be repaired. Besides, no one has a prettier smile than our baby Jasilyn.

Chad and Katherine Sitzmann


(Read a Story of the Month update from Jasilyn at age 12)