Andrew’s ABS Story

My name is Julie-anne and with permission from my 10 year old son named Andrew I am here to share our story.

When I first found out that I was pregnant I was so excited and couldn’t wait to share the news with my family and friends. I didn’t know if I was having a boy or girl it really didn’t matter as long as my baby was well and healthy. I went for an ultrasound at 12 weeks and the doctor said that the baby looked good and that I was healthy. I had morning sickness until 16 weeks and then I woke up one day and it was gone. I was feeling great and was waiting for my baby to come into the world. I spent most of my time setting everything up for baby and reading on pregnancy since it was my first baby.

One night I was relaxing with my cousin and at the time I was 16 1/2 weeks pregnant and I had water leaking out of me and I thought at first it was just urine but all the frequent trips to the washroom changed my mind. I took a bunch of large white plastic cups to the washroom with me and I filled one up to see what colour it was and it was clear as clean water. Each time I leaked out water I would sit over the toilet and let it fill into the cup. My cousin and I decided to go to the hospital because I ended up filling up three large cups, which was not normal at all. When we arrived at the hospital the doctor on call came in and looked at me with a very stern face and she told me that there is no way that the fluid in the cup was my water and that it was urine. I told her that it was not normal and that I needed to be checked out immediately. She ended up testing the cups with a strip to see if it was my amniotic fluid and as we were waiting for the results she told me that I was wasting her time. After a few minutes the doctor took the strip out and she said “yes, it’s your amniotic fluid but what do you want me to do about it!” She was not nice about things at all and at the time my doctor was on vacation for 1 month so I told her that I wasn’t sure just that it wasn’t normal and she told me that I was fine and to go home. My cousin and I were in disbelief and went home. A short time after the water stopped leaking and I felt fine.

When my doctor returned back from his vacation and I had my check up with him he got the report and the first thing he said to me did the doctor fill you back up with a tube and I told him no and that she told me that I’ll be fine and to go home. He told me that my baby may have some problems when he/she was born. I thought what problems and asked my doctor but he said he was not sure at all. My doctor’s daughter whom at the time was 12 has Amniotic Band Syndrome and she is missing all 5 fingers on one hand and is healthy. I saw many pictures of her in his office. At the time I was very young and didn’t know much about children with special needs or being born extra special so I thought that nothing could happen to my baby and hoped for the best.

On January 7th 1999 I went into labour 3 weeks early and I ended up having a beautiful baby boy, the nurses delivered him because I was in total labour for 27 minutes and my doctor arrived 1 hr later. The baby was so quiet and I asked the nurses if he was okay, they didn’t show me my baby right away they said to me that something was wrong and I was starting to panic. My doctor arrived and assessed the baby and said to me Julie remember when I told you that something might be wrong with your baby when it’s born I said “yes” he said your baby has a bit of problems. The nurse passed me my baby and I went into shock I was so surprised to see a baby born like this because I have never seen it before. My doctor said your baby has Amniotic Band Syndrome. After I researched ABS I now understand. In the beginning I was very mad about the situation. I could have sued the doctor from the hospital because if she would of used the tube and filled me back up with water then it would of prevented ABS but I loved my baby too much to do that and thought I could never take money for him but now I wish I would of and put it in his Education Savings Plan. Andrew got assessed for needing a support worker for Pre-School and Elementary School but he is too independent so they said that he doesn’t need one.

Andrew has one hand with 2 fingers and a bud on it and his other hand has 1 and 1/2 finger’s on it. He was born with clubbed feet with 2 toes on it and 5 toes on the other foot. He had 4 surgeries and many castings and now his feet are corrected. I took Andrew to a hand specialist and the doctor told Andrew that he can give him more fingers by taking the tissue from his toes. Andrew was so excited but I told the doctor that it was a big decision and I will bring Andrew back when he is older.

I am so glad to been given this opportunity to share this story with others to educate them about how serious it is when you are pregnant and if you lose any amount of water go directly to Emergency and do not leave until you are treated. Even though my son is living a very good life he asks me all the time when is he going to have hands like his brothers and I told him that that is how he was born and that he shouldn’t ask for any more. When Andrew was under the age of 8 and if a stranger asks Andrew what happened to his fingers he would tell them that god didn’t have enough fingers that day for me and he made that up on his own because I am not religious at all. Andrew now tells people that my mom lost her water and the doctor didn’t help my mom. I hope my story can help other families prevent ABS from happening to their little one.

Thank-you for reading, Andrew and Julie