When We Found Out Our Son Would Not Be Like Everyone Else


Resting my hand on my husband’s back, I felt the fear in his clammy t-shirt. We were in the darkened ultrasound room waiting for the doctor to explain. I’d never felt this level of panic, a surge of pain, a hurt only parents can feel when they get dreaded news. There is something wrong your baby. 

Today was supposed to be such an exciting day. We were going to find out if our peanut was a boy or girl and share the news over pizza with my sisters — sausage for a girl, pepperoni for a boy. We laughed throughout the ultrasound and marveled at our baby’s activity, watching him kick and reveal his grainy little organs to the technician on the screen. I couldn’t look away when it was time for the gender reveal and found out early — pepperoni for dinner! Then the tech told us she would be right back, that the doctor had to look over our scan. We waited for an eternity. What was taking so long? He was perfect; we’d just seen all of his organs.

With each passing minute, our anxiety levels rose. The doctor came in and began the ultrasound all over again. The brain was perfect, the heart was fine, the kidneys, bladder and stomach were all normal. Then he began to explain.

“The reason we’re looking so closely is because the tech couldn’t find his left arm. It is here, but I’m afraid I have some bad news. Your son appears to be missing his left fingers.” No fingers? Small hand? Partial thumb? How could this be? Why us? This is not the lottery with the impossible odds you dream of winning.

This was it. This was the shoe we’d been waiting to fall. Here it was, our own family nightmare.  We’d been so blessed. And that’s exactly what I’d go back and tell myself if I could relive that moment. You are still so blessed and this won’t change that. Sure, this will be hard and you will be scared and some days will be harder than others, but this will also magnify your blessings and bring them to light.

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This chubby, happy, healthy little baby will show you how blessed you really are. Blessings will come in all shapes and sizes, and now you’ll just be that much more cognizant when they occur.

They’ll happen that first night when your sisters instinctively feed, bathe and tuck in your toddler so you can cry alone with your husband. They’ll arrive in the hugs and love from your parents who wish they could take this hurt from you as badly as you wish to take it from your son. This lucky little fin will end up saving not only the baby with the cord wrapped four times around his neck during delivery, but maybe you as well, thanks to a repeat C-section. You’ll find comfort in the strength of your marriage and find that your husband is a more amazing father than you could have hoped for. Your colleagues will keep you busy during the last 20 weeks of your pregnancy, covering for you when you need it and distracting you along the way. Your friends will come and meet the baby, saying just the right thing and you’ll be so thankful that you’ll cry when they leave. Your son will show his cousin his lucky fin with so much pride you’ll ache at their innocence and pray he always knows this kind of acceptance. You’ll find incredible stories of amazing families and children that will inspire you and change the way you look at the world.

You’ll realize in the end that maybe we’re really the lucky ones after all. Feeling so much love and support and not taking it for granted might be the greatest blessing of all. And you’ll be reminded of this every time you pick up your cuddly, chatty, perfectly imperfect little miracle.

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For all of January, The Mighty is asking its readers this question: If you could go back to the day you (or a loved one) got a diagnosis, what would you tell yourself? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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