My Husband's Reaction to Finding Out Our Baby Girl Has No Arms or Hands Put the Doctors to Shame
"I hope I can instill in her all the confidence she needs in herself to take on the world. I’m worried that in that regard, I’ll fail as a mother. But I am going to try my hardest and give it everything I’ve got."
I found out about my second daughter Ivy’s limb differences at 19 weeks. My husband was away for work, so my mother and sister came with me to my ultrasound appointment to help corral my toddler and get a glimpse of the baby.
I remember that ultrasound took forever -- but the tech told me that the baby’s legs were crossed and in a difficult position to determine gender. I thought nothing of it. We all commented on her cute little toes and got pictures printed, and we didn’t even notice that there was no mention of her hands.
The next day, I had an appointment with my midwife. About an hour before my appointment, I got a call from her.
Next, some concerns with her heart.
The fear came rushing back, as this was a major organ -- more along the lines of what I had been worried was wrong. Something big, something life-threatening, something terminal. But still… a heart issue? There are machines and technology that can help a heart beat, that can fix a heart, aren’t there?
Third, missing both forearms and hands.
This felt like a punch to the gut. It stole my breath. It keeled me over and the sobs tore out of me, and visions of my perfect little baby shattered. No hands? I had never heard of this. It wasn’t on my radar.
It had never crossed my mind, never been a fleeting fear or worry. I had just assumed that she had all limbs, that all pieces were there. I was devastated. I didn’t know if this was something I could handle, I didn’t know if things would be okay.
I do remember, in the quiet aftermath as we sat in that office, my dad saying to me, "She’s going to be a blessing to our family. I think our family needs someone like her. She is going to teach us so much."
It’s hard to write this, to relive these emotions, because I feel guilt for the fears I had, for the hopelessness I felt.