Austyn’s ABS Story

My daughter Austyn was born March 1, 2002. She was born with ABS affecting her left hand, leg and foot. Her hand had a separate thumb but all four fingers fused together and on top of one another. She had a DEEP band above her left ankle at birth. It was open and to the bone. Scary stuff!! On her left foot, her toes next to the big toe were joined at the tip. I had a very eventful pregnancy and worked up until the week she was born. I was convinced that I was leaking amniotic fluid and made eleven trips to the ER. Each one they did an ultrasound and measured my fluid levels. Each one they said I was fine and I was sent home saying that I was imagining things. One doctor even laughed with my husband and said I was losing control of my bladder!! My first experience with mother knows best… Obviously my fluid was leaking!!

Finally, the Monday before Austyn was born, I came down with a terrible flu. I was hospitalized for dehydration. While I was in there, a resident doctor stripped my membranes and by Tuesday nite I was in labor. Austyn was born Thursday afternoon and right away I knew something was UP!! Everyone kept saying the right things, she was so pretty, etc., but I had glimpsed her hand. I felt like I was in the twilight zone! What is wrong with my daughter????

Not until Friday morning did we meet with the neonatologist and he explained ABS. What a relief to put a name to it!

The first two months we dealt with many different surgeons and specialists. No one would operate- they said it was too early. Finally, we were blessed to be put on track with the Shriner’s hospital in Philadelphia. They are truly angels on Earth.

Austyn had her first surgery at two months, and two more since then. I can’t say it has all been easy, but I wouldn’t change our experiences with her for the world. She is a strong, hearty, beautiful toddler who today has all fingers separated with only cosmetic defects, a scar from Z-plasty on her leg and her foot you can’t even tell unless you notice one nail missing. She is the youngest of our three with two older brother’s, Dean,7, and Jordan, 6. When she was born everyone kept saying the boys would be the ones to watch out for her, but she does just fine!! You don’t know anything about her is different unless you look for it.

I would love to talk to any other parents of children with ABS and share our experience, strength and hope. I hope that all of you can cherish the gift God gave you in your special child!!.