Erick was born on September 6, 2002 missing his left hand due to amniotic banding. To me he is perfect. When I had Erick my husband was deployed but luckily I had my Mother, Sister and Mother-In-Law with me for emotional support. I didn’t know he was missing his left hand until he was born. The emotions I had were of heartbreak and questions of “how he would be treated by others to include girls, school and sports”. My Grandfather had Multiple Scoloris and was confined to a wheelchair for 30 something years but he never gave up. I think the determination I saw in him helped me face Erick’s difference.
After Erick was born the doctors cleaned him up and in the meantime asked me if I had ever had the chicken pox. At that point I knew something was wrong. Of course at first the explanation was “these things sometimes just happen and we don’t know why”. How could there be no explanation? I took good care of myself or so I thought. I’ve always heard not getting enough frolic acid can cause birth defects so I was unprepared something could be wrong with my baby. I cried off and on for days. Telling my husband was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I thought it was my fault and the grief I felt was so overwhelming.
When the nurse brought Erick into the recovery room she had a sleeper on him with mittens. The nurse had closed the mitten on his left hand. Right then I knew if Erick was to have self confidence he did not need to have his hand hidden. So I uncovered his hand and they never covered it again. At first I was nervous of what people would say but then after researching I found that in most situations it is adults who get embarrassed about what their kids say. I don’t want parents to get embarrassed, it’s natural for children to notice when another child is different.
Erick is such a happy, beautiful baby and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He also is a big boy, 11lbs 11ozs at birth. I think my Grandfather asked God to make him big. I know Erick will be successful in anything he does. I remember at an appointment at Walter Reed one of the residents said “that’s okay, you can run track”. I am not going to put any limitations on Erick! I have faith he can play any sport he wants with determination and supporting parents. Jim Abbott did it! Plus I’ve read of other who play instruments or are artists. Stories where people have overcome obstacles have given me hope and made me excited to see what Erick chooses to do with his life!
Erick just turned five this past week. I have to say that he amazes me each and everyday with the things that he can do. Last year he buttoned his own shirt for the first time. Of course, I was really excited since this is a huge accomplishment! He loves to play soccer and baseball. He is an avid swimmer, and sometimes I think he is part fish. Next year he starts kindergarten. He missed the cut-off date by five days, but I think the extra year will be good for him.
Erick has started to ask questions, and I notice that he does not like to explain his hand. When he was younger he was just tell kids, “I was just born like that”. Now he tends to get annoyed. I tell him kids are just curious. I also tell him that it takes everyone two hands to do something when he can do the same things with one. How cool is that?