our lucky fin

i get asked frequently, “how has this pregnancy been compared to your first?” totally normal question, mainly a conversation starter, i get it.  my answer is usually something to the effect of, “its been awesome, just way more tired with a toddler running around!” that is true, it is exhausting.  i could sleep whenever i wanted with my first pregnancy, because i had no kids yet (remember those days, moms?!) but that short answer is only half the truth. and here is why..

at 15 weeks pregnant i went in for a regular cervical length measurement/check up at EVMS.  usually my mom watches Tenley for ultrasounds, but i must have been feeling like super woman that day and i brought her with me.  it was only our one hundredth ultrasound, so i had stopped making my husband come at this point.

after about 30 minutes and a pissed off toddler (who had s**t her pants half way through the ultrasound, mind you) i hear these exact words that changed my life… “well, everything looks good except i’m slightly concerned about the baby’s left hand.”

at that point she hovers over baby’s hand and it was unclear whether the baby was clenching his/her fist or if there were in fact, no fingers. she finishes with the ultrasound and leaves to get the doctor. meanwhile, i’ve got a belly covered in gel, no clothes on from the waist down, oh and remember my toddler with a diaper full of s**t?! yeah, that was fun. you can imagine what was going through my head all the while trying to calm my toddler- for TEN minutes.

the doctor comes in and discusses what she saw. “there are some things that look concerning on the ultrasound.” her first concern was not even the hand, it was cysts on baby’s brain and an echogenic focus on the heart. i’m over here like how could this be happening? is this real freaking life? i come in for a routine visit, and my world is turned upside down, by myself, with a pissed off toddler.

so i finally got to change tenley’s diaper, and she was only half as pissed off now as we were approaching hour 2 of the “routine office visit”. then they wanted me to meet with the genetic counselor because apparently my baby could have a slew of chromosomal anomalies from the findings they saw, some even lethal. i remember losing it in the waiting room.

for those of you who don’t know, my husband works in special operations and he is not allowed to bring his phone into work, thus i couldn’t reach him. by the grace of God, my mom called me at that very second and she rushed to the hospital where we were at. i’ll spare you the details of what the genetic counselor was telling me. although she was really good at her job, it was all the “worst case scenario” that no mom wants to hear. after some blood work, i was sent home to wait 1-2 weeks for the results.

that week was probably the hardest week of this whole pregnancy. all the what ifs, what did i do? is this even real?, and so on.  something told me that my results would come back normal, but something did tell me that my baby didn’t have fingers. 1 week later, that same genetic counselor called me with the blood results, everything was perfectly normal!

our next ultrasound (with husband in tow) was around 17 weeks and they confirmed what i had already “known”, there were in fact, no fully formed fingers on baby’s left hand. i left there that afternoon feeling slightly nervous, but okay. my husband, not so much. it took him a bit to digest it, while i had already had two weeks to let it sink in.

how am i doing? honestly, at first, i was scared and heartbroken. almost like when you find out horrible news and you keep convincing yourself that “this isn’t real life.” i remember waking up that next day and reliving those feelings again, that was no fun. but i knew i had two choices: i could sit there and dwell on all the what ifs and likely lead myself through a state of depression OR i could accept it and move forward to the “what’s next?!” i chose the second route. since that day, we have done as much research as possible, found numerous support groups for limb differences such as the “Lucky Fin Project” and have bought our daughter the best children’s book called “Uniquely Me” to prepare her and us. we have even met with the baby’s orthopedic specialist- how cool is that?!

so why am i even writing about this? well first, i’m an open book. when something bad happens, you won’t find me alone, you’ll find me talking out my feelings. another reason is because i want to reach out to those parents who may be going through something similar, or who have gone through it and can help me deal with it!

life throws you some curve balls but i can assure you that missing fingers isn’t as tragic as what some in this world are forced to go through.  throughout all of this, i have learned that we have zero control of what is ahead, and depending upon your beliefs, it is already planned out for us. in my head, i envisioned my “perfect” little family completely different. what the hell is perfect, anyway? well, apparently i was meant to have a baby with no left fingers and that’s okay. they aren’t technically missing, because you can’t miss something you never had to begin with, right?

xoxo,

Lauren

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27 Comments

  1. I went through this exact same experience earlier this year, right down to the trips to the genetics consultants and the weeks of terror that there might be more wrong. My lucky fin is now here and she’s awesome! 😍 Huge congratulations, it’ll all be so okay and your little ones are really lucky to have your positivity! Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy and beyond! 🙂

    • Amanda K Berry

      Sounds exactly like my experience. I was devistated at first, but all the perfect Lucky fin children that were doing everything “normal” gave me all the peace I needed during pregnancy. John Marshall was born 06/09/16 and I am so lucky to have him in my life he is absolutely perfect. He just started crawling and his affected hand hasn’t slowed him down. I wish I could go back to the day I found out and the weeks to follow and know what I know now. Congratulations!

  2. Kaitlin Ross

    So proud and thankful to know you and your beautiful family. This baby is PerFINTic and couldn’t be given to are more incredible family. I love you all so very much and can not wait to meet this little blessing. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Sending Blessings, prayers and love from your Florida friends.

  3. OJay

    Oh, girl we must catch up! We were in the same situation except our baby had too many fingers! Those feelings you first get when you hear those words that your baby may not be quite the “norm” are overwhelming. But then God has a way of filling us Mamas with a peace that surpasses any abnormalities. And I’m pretty sure we even met with the same genetic counselor. Praying for you & that sweet, perfect baby. Hope to see you soon.

  4. Laura Alston

    Very beautifully written and what a positive attitude to have. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and allowing us into your life .

  5. Julie

    Lauren you are amazing and any child of yours will be too! I have a student with hand disabilities missing her fingers and is so awesome! She has trained her self to do what every other student does. She climbs the ropes in PE! She was the lead female in our school play, Elf. Beautiful inside and out with a wonderful voice,

  6. Crystal Key

    Lauren- what a beautiful attitude you have! God selected you for this child. Without a doubt, God has designed you to love this child and this baby will be a blessing. My life verse (like many) is Jeremiah 29:11. I hope it brings you peace. Merry Christmas 🎄

  7. Julia

    Thank you for sharing. We just lost a baby girl at 20 weeks pregnant. We found out she might have Downs on a blood test. We went in to the ultrasound with our biggest fear being that she had an extra chromosome, not that we would hear no heartbeat. We would love to still be carrying her with any abnormality that could be thrown at us. You were choosen to be his momma! I absolutely love the book to get big sis involved!! We have one life, choose to lead a joyful one ❤️

  8. Hayley Martin Walters

    Hi Lauren, your blog really hit home for me. I just had a beautiful healthy daughter, Blake Olivia, on September 15th, 2016. We didn’t find out until she was born that she only has 3 fingers on her left hand. I just want to thank you for being so open and honest in your blog; it has really helped me think about things differently. I just love when you talk about “what’s next” and “you can’t miss something you never had”. My husband and I also follow the Lucky Fin Project. That group has really helped us and I’m so happy Blake will have a support group to join. Another blog you might want to check out is Lisa Leonard’s blog. She has a beautiful family and is a true inspiration.

    I hope your third trimester is going well. You’re almost a family of 4!!

    • minding mulloy

      hi hayley!

      congratulations on your baby girl! thank you for the kind words. I will definitely check out Lisa Leonard, thank you for the recommendation! all the best to you!

  9. Kristin Alonso

    Started following you on instagram and just decided to read your blog…so happy I did because I get to share this awesome post ‘Holland’ with you. I had a ‘routine’ ultrasound that turned into my finding out tons of scary possibilities…(that I had to wait 1 month for btw) I have 2 beautiful daughters now (the youngest, who is 11, is the one that I went through that with) and a son on the way! The 11 yr old is beautiful, smart & healthy, and 99% of the terrible ‘possibilities’ did not happen. I wish you & your family the very best!

    WELCOME TO HOLLAND

    by
    Emily Perl Kingsley.

    c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

  10. Emma

    Omg!!!! This post is extremely inspirational and it really tugged at my heart. It can have a lot to do with the fact that I am pregnant as well. This is honestly soooo beautiful and would make me love my baby even more. He is going to be more than fine. As long as he has loving people around him which I know he will, he will exude confidence and nothing will get in the way of that. Best of wishes with everything.

    Xoxo,
    Emma Roman

  11. Beck

    That is what happened to us 4.5 years ago!
    except for the genetic testing..
    other great books are
    “Different is Awesome”
    Little miss jessica goes to school
    and
    just let me put my legs on (obviously this one is about prosthetic legs)

    All the best! our kids with little arms are AMAZING

  12. Gema

    Beautiful post! I’m also a mom to a lil boy who was born with missing fingers on his right hand. What you describe is exactly how we felt during pregnancy and to be honest the first year of his life. Something miraculous happens when you focus on the gift & not the disability or what’s “missing”.. children are a gift!!! My son is now 5yrs old.. goes to kindergarten, and is doing great! It’s really depends on us as parents to shape their formative years and not rob them of their dignity & freedom to just be who they were created to be. They have a purpose far greater than our own understanding. So as a mom…just wanted to say congrats!!! Welcome to the adventure of a lifetime!!! And keep posting pictures!!! 😉

  13. Lindsey

    I was born with a limb anomaly on my left hand as well. It looks very similar to your son’s! My parents were given the option of removing my toes and putting them on my hand. Seems crazy now! I’m glad they didn’t. It hasn’t always been easy being different, but I wouldn’t change it now. It will shape him to be a very caring and accepting person. I’m a critical care nurse, and I feel like my patients like that I’m not physically perfect. They ask about it and genuinely enjoy talking about something that isn’t their own health problem :).

    My parents took the approach of never using the word disability or allowing me to think I had anything of the sort. I was expected to figure out how to adapt in any situation, which I like to think is a gift that God gives to every child born with something that makes them different. Teach him how to talk about it and explain it to the kids at school. That’s the only time I struggled with it – when I didn’t know what words to use to explain “why” I have this hand.

    I accidentally stumbled on your post, and I’m so glad I did! I had never heard of the Lucky Fin Project. What a great group!

    Congrats on your sweet boy! He is going to have a great and full life filled with wonderful people.

  14. m.m

    Hi, i have a lucky fin daughter and she is 3 months old, i did not have any time to digest it because i found it after my girl birth, thanks God to have a nice,smart and … girl. she is awesome. but i want to know if there is some medical treatments??? thank u because of everything and also special thanks to lucky fin project.

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