We have some VERY EXCITING NEWS! 3.5 months after Zac had 9 hours of pioneering surgery to try to give his paralysed face a smile, the nerves have started to enervate the muscles that the surgeons took from his thighs and implanted in his face, and last night we saw his lips curl up into a little smile for the first time since he was born 9 years ago 😁 He’ll now start doing his physio exercises to build the muscle strength so he can smile even more.

When we were told his face was paralysed and we would never see him smile, it was so incredibly painful to come to terms with. I remember glancing at a baby smiling up at its mother and bursting into tears. It’s the most natural thing in the world that we all take for granted, but not being able to smile has a huge effect on how people accept and relate to you.

One of the most painful moments was when we found him aged 3 in front of a mirror. He kept trying to push the corners of his lips up with his fingers, then cradling his head in his hands and crying “Oh, no! Oh, no!”. It was unbearable to witness his pain and suffering as he became aware of his differences.

So to see him leap onto the sofa to smile at himself in the mirror and start shouting “I can smile, I can smile, it’s a miracle” was completely overwhelming. We all cried and laughed and cried lots more.

It made me think back to the poem I wrote after he was born when I was in the depths of pain around his paralysis. The full poem is in my next post but this is a verse from it…

“When holly leaves are frosted with sugar
and their berries pulsate with strong desire
to see my son’s mouth curve into a smile,
She whispers ‘do not be afraid to bleed’ –
as the spiky thorns pierce my empty womb
and my dry breasts shrivel with unspent tears.”

Last night, my 9 year long wait was over and I saw my son’s mouth curve into a smile. It truly felt like a miracle.

With so much gratitude to his surgical team, to you all for your support and prayers, and to my children @sophia_cdb, Jasmine and Zac, for walking this incredibly deep Soul path together. We are truly blessed.

Annabel Du Boulay 🙏♥️🙏

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