About 7 weeks ago, my husband Scott and I went to my 20-week Tier II ultrasound. This is the one where you get to watch your baby wiggle around inside you for about an hour while the sonographer takes all sorts of measurements. Usually this is the appointment where they will tell you the sex. Thanks to the advancement of both my age and medical technology, we already knew we were having another little girl since I was 11-weeks through a genetic blood test. Yay science!
The appointment went pretty routinely. Everything looked great up until the last 10 minutes of our the scan. Much like my daughter Emily, Baby Boo Number Two liked to move and not show parts of her that the sonographer and my perinatologist wanted to see. So they had me turn to one side, then the other. They had looked at her right hand and were now looking at her left hand. It looked odd and different. But the way the baby was facing, it was hard to get a clear picture.
The perinatologist started talking about missing fingers. About how she sees this at the hospital once or twice a year. How there’s nothing else wrong with her but they want to refer me for more scans at another hospital. How she doesn’t believe that there would be a need for surgery. How this isn’t because of anything I did or didn’t do. It’s not genetic, it’s just something that happened.
I felt the wind sucked out of me. Tears welled up. We did the genetic testing months ago and everything was normal. How can this be? Our baby was healthy and the past hour we never dreamed anything like this would happen. Scott held my hand tightly. The doctor gave me tissues and a reassuring pat and left the room to make a call for me to another hospital. The sonographer told me about someone she knows with a similar limb difference and how normal their life is. But all I could focus on was my mind racing and hearing a ringing in my ears.
Honestly, I don’t know how I walked down the hall to my perinatologist’s office. Or what I said as she handed the phone to me to make the appointment at the hospital. How I walked out of that hospital to the car. I do remember sobbing like I’ve never sobbed before once we got to the car. And crawling into bed to sob some more. The only things I worry about are the things that I cannot control. I don’t want to be pitied. And I don’t want our sweet baby to be bullied or made fun of.
In the days after that appointment, I searched a little bit for information on this condition. There, I found the Lucky Fin Project (as we were leaving the hospital, I remember Scott saying that this is our baby’s lucky fin). It’s been a source of inspiration and encouragement for Scott, myself and my family. And I encourage you to talk to your kids about differences – check out this article from The Mighty.
We’ve been processing this the past few months and we’re finally ready to tell our story. At times I’ve been overwhelmed in the best possible way by the reaction and support of our friends and family. This little girl is so loved. Going through this has made me realize, even more, how lucky I am to have my husband by my side through life’s ups and down. My daughter has been wonderful too and she’s going to be the best big sister.