Hi. My name is Heide Ratliff and I am the proud new Grandmother of a beautiful little girl, Gertie Meta Wine. I love her more than words can fully express. My Granddaughter is beautiful, smart, and happy and I am truly thankful for her presence in my life.
As a result of ABS, Gertie was born without her left hand. The irregularity was discovered during a routine ultrasound, when my daughter was only 14 weeks pregnant. She was quickly referred to a fetal specialist, who performed a 3-D ultrasound and confirmed the initial diagnosis of ABS. I was in the exam room when my daughter was informed by the doctor of the situation. He told my daughter she still had several more weeks to consider legally “terminating the pregnancy.” As a Christian mother, I was never so proud of my daughter, when I heard her tearful reply: “That is not an option.”
My daughter and her husband were both shocked, and riddled with grief, wondering if perhaps they themselves had done something wrong which may have caused this unfortunate situation to happen. However, the more our family learned about ABS, the better we each came to understand no one is at fault. It just happens. Hopefully in the near future, in conjunction with early detection, new surgical intervention techniques will readily exist to eliminate ABS altogether. Releasing/severing any constricting bands, during the baby’s development while it is still in utero, will likely prevent added hardship to all. Until then, I hope anyone who reads my account will agree, all these special children are a miracle and have a right to life. Personally, I am blessed by Gertie’s awesome smile and the joy she brings our entire family.
Incidentally, Gertie won the Baby Beauty contest in our home town this year (2009). She was a celebrity in the 4th of July parade and featured on the front page of the local newspaper. All pretty amazing accomplishments for being just 6 months old. GO GERTIE …