Emma’s ABS Story

Emma was born January 8th 2008. Up until the time she was born I had never heard of Amniotic Band Syndrome. We had over ten ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy and I still have copies of them. Looking back at them I have no idea how I couldn’t have seen it. She was born with little nubs instead of fingers on her right hand. Thankfully she has half of her thumb bone.

Needless to say I was shocked after she was born. I had a surprisingly easy labor and delivery and was overjoyed when they placed her on my belly. I saw her hand and was confused at first. I wasn’t sure if it was just the medication affecting my vision. So I asked if her hand was okay and the doctor looked and said no it’s not. I couldn’t cry. How could I, here was this beautiful little girl we had been waiting nine months for looking up at me with her daddy’s eyes. He was recording the whole thing and broke down in tears before he stopped the tape. I can’t stand watching that video, it makes me cry every time I see it.

Everyone including the hospital staff where very supportive and my OB even cried with me when she explained ABS to me. I met the pediatrician we chose for Emma and immediately disliked her when she told me there was nothing that could be done. So my doctor recommended another pediatrician who has been wonderful. We have a referral to Shriners Hospital for children and will be going next month to see what can be done to help her in the future. Although I have spoken with a lot of people who say that most children affected by ABS don’t have any surgeries and go on to do everything well without them. We have two other children a five year old and a three year old who don’t seem to notice Emma’s hand too much other than to call one her big hand and the other her little hand.

It has been really hard these last few months but everyday it gets a little easier. Most the time I don’t even think about her hand. With her bright smile and cute laugh, who could notice anything else. The only hard part is going out in public. Strangers come up to see the sweet baby as strangers do, but instead of starting a conversation about if she sleeps through the night or if she’s teething as people did with my first two children, they instead give me an uneasy smile and walk away. It makes me wonder if these people think it’s my fault. I wish I knew why this happened. I keep going over it in my head and I’ve come up with two possibilities. One, I got a brown recluse spider bite on my abdomen early in my pregnancy. Which, I of course didn’t think that should affect my pregnancy. And the other thing was our dog a 50 lb boxer jumped on the bed in the middle of the night, right onto my stomach when I was about 6 weeks pregnant.

I guess I will never know for sure why this happened. I can only be grateful that it wasn’t any worse. Its hard to hear the other stories of children who died or who have missing limbs. None of these kids deserved this but it seems like they are as capable and as happy as any other child. I look forward to seeing Emma grow up. I will teach her to never use her hand as an excuse not to do something. Hopefully I can teach her to be stronger than I could ever be.