Tyler was born on February 2nd, 2002 after a very complicated pregnancy. I had developed pre-eclampsia and was put on bed-rest a month before I was induced. I had tons of ultrasounds. Two a week-including a 3-D ultrasound. None of them indicated any problems with the baby. I prayed my whole pregnancy that my little boy would be born healthy and perfect….you know the saying 10 fingers and 10 toes.
When I found out I was pregnant I was a newly-wed and only 19 years old. I did everything to make sure I had the “perfect” pregnancy. I stopped smoking, and started to walk every day. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 22 weeks and put on Labetalol (a medication to lower my blood pressure). I prayed day and night that my baby and I would be okay. My labor was induced at 36 weeks when my blood pressure sky-rocketed to 190/116. Tyler was born on Groundhog Day at 7:31 in the morning. My doctor made the joke, that with all the trouble we’ve had, if Tyler saw his shadow she wouldn’t let him go back in! I pushed for 1 hr and 32 minutes before I heard that beautiful cry I had been longing to hear for 8 months.
Then my doctor said something I never would’ve imagined, “He has a little bit of webbing on his left hand.” Those words just rang in my hear as I looked down at his little hand. I was already crying but now it was a different cry. A sad cry…why…why…why is all I could think at the time. My husband was very supportive and acted like nothing was wrong. I, on the other hand, became very depressed. I was so happy to have had such a beautiful little boy but yet so sad that he had something wrong with him. I looked at all the little babies in the nursery and got even more depressed that mine was the only one that was not perfect. I wondered what I had done wrong. I blamed myself and asked myself all the what-if’s.
When we went home, I was scared. I had been an only child and had not been around a baby so small plus I was worried about his hand and I had never even heard of syndactyly….. I had so many questions and no one to talk to. My parents live out-of-State, and we were new to the area. That is when I decided to search on the internet. That is where I found all of you wonderful people who have helped me so much and probably don’t even know it. Two-Months after Tyler was born I stopped the what-ifs and decided it was time to be strong for my son. It was then I realized that my baby IS PERFECT. His hand was no ones fault . God made a special angel and then gave him to me. A gift that I will be forever thankful for. A gift that has changed my life and stole my heart. Tyler has taught me so much. He is such an amazing, strong little boy. He does everything any other kid does at his age. His hand doesn’t slow him down a bit.
Then God sent me another blessing. A man that works with me is a Shriner. He told me the Shriner’s Hospital can separate Tyler’s fingers. We took Tyler down to the Hospital when he was 5 months old. The doctors there said they could preform “Syndactyly Releases” to give Tyler better use of his fingers. He was put on a waiting list and that brings us to the present time…Tyler’s surgery is on May 20th, 2003!
I am so thankful for this ABS web site. It gave me strength, hope and support. It has helped me deal with Tyler’s condition and made me realize that I am not alone. I want to thank you all so much for sharing your stories and the best way to thank you is to share mine. So, there it is …the story of my miracle baby and the people who have given me strength on this journey. Words cannot express how grateful I am but I especially thank God for giving me such a PERFECT little boy.
UPDATE ~ Tyler’s surgery May 20th, 2003
We just got in last night from the hospital. Tyler is doing wonderfully. A lot better than I expected. He is such a strong little boy. They could only do two release this time. They separated his ring finger from his middle finger and his thumb from his index a little more (there was just a slight webbing there). His worst day I would have to say was Thursday but He is starting to do much better. I had to put a sock over his cast because when the swelling went down he kept wanting to stick is finger in the thumb hole. He has been fairly cranky and hasn’t been wanting to eat much but we weren’t sure if it was because of the surger or his teething. We noticed he cut two molars while he was in the Hospital. He just had a bad week…..Hopefully, he will get to feeling better soon. I just wanted to update you on how his surgery went. Tyler’s next surgery is in 6 months.
UPDATE ~ Tyler’s surgery September 16th, 2003
His doctor said the separation went very well. They separated the 4th web space (between his ring finger and his pinky). They said he will probablly only have 1 more surgery which is a relief! The doctor said he will separate the web space between the index and the middle finger next time and that he has to redo the web space between the thumb and the index finger. He just needs to “deepen” it a little more. Tyler is doing really good. His cast is blue this time. He keeps trying to take it off. He is a little older now which helps cause he can tell me “ow!” when he is hurting. His cast removal is on the 7th of October so I will be sure and let you know how things go.
They just took the cast off on Tuesday. I was very worried at first beacause I didn’t know if he was going to be able to use his fingers. They separated his pinky and his ring finger this time. Last night for the first time he moved both of them separately!!!!!! I cried and cried. I was so thankful. It made me so happy. But I’m sure you know how I feel :o)….. It made me glad I decided to go ahead and have the surgery done. Now all he has left is one more to separate his index and his middle finger.
UPDATE ~ Tyler’s 3rd surgery December 23rd, 2003
The doctors deepened the web space between his thumb and his index finger but they came out and told me they were unable to separate his index and middle finger. He gave me a choice to either keep them webbed or he would have to amputate his middle finger. He suggested keeping them together because they both are small so together would give the index finger more strength. Having to make a quick decision I based it off of what will benefit Tyler instead of what looks better. I am happy with my decision and I think/ hope Tyler will be too. Who know’s maybe they will come up with something in the future that will be able to save his middle finger. It was really hard…especially since it was so unexpected going into surgery. But everything happens for a reason, Tyler doesn’t seem to mind either way :o) . He is doing great!!!
He started daycare. He has been staying with some friends until we could get his surgeries out of the way. The other children have asked questions but that was all. They are all still really young to understand. One little girl said she wishes her hand was that way because it looks cool. She is only 5 …. My husband and I couldn’t help but laugh. Kids I think are learning more and more to accept other children who might not look the same as them. Parents have helped in that aspect by teaching their kids not to make fun of other children just because they are different. I just hope one day all people will understand just because someone may not be their version of “normal” doesn’t make them any less of a person.
UPDATE ~ 2014
In 2006, Tyler went for another check up at the Shriner’s Hospital. Miraculously, his hand had grown to the point they felt surgery was an option for Tyler’s middle and index finger. Tyler went ahead and had the surgery the summer before he was going into kindergarten. There was a lot of fear if there was enough blood supply to support both fingers independently. We went in with the risk of amputation of Tyler’s middle finger but praise be to God that both fingers were separated and able to be saved. They had to more skin grafting but I was so happy that my little boys fingers were separated. They told me at his follow up that the middle finger would most likely never be able to move on its own. This was discouraging but we never lost faith.
The kids at school of course had questions but throughout all elementary school, Tyler handle all the questioning so well. I couldn’t be more proud of him . I remember so clear when he was able to tie his shoes. I thought that would be problem for him but it wasn’t at all. He is just a little miracle, as are all the children on this website for the obstacles they overcome every day. I am also happy to report that Tyler is now able to move that middle finger on its own. His hand will never function as the other but he doesn’t let that slow him down one little bit.
He is now in middle school. I can’t believe where the time has gone. He is in band and plays the drums. He is truly just an inspiration to all around him. There isn’t a day goes by that he doesn’t surprise me with all that he is accomplishing. Sometimes I take myself back to the day he was born. All the questions, fears and anxiety about his condition and I wonder why I was so worried for this little boy who now is growing up to be a perfect, amazing young man. He is so smart and has not met a stranger. He is strong in his faith with God and isn’t ashamed to let others know that his hand is part of God’s marvelous plan for his life.
Tyler had a little sister born in 2007 and a new baby brother December 2013.