Wednesday, March 03, 2010

12 Fingers & 12 Toes — from Alli

lovely photo by Mary Ruffle

My pregnancy had started much like many others. Tired and sick most of the first half. We found out in week 20 that we were going to be welcoming a baby girl to our family at the end of the year. Check ups and appointments went well up until my 31st week.

In that appointment the doctor noticed I was measuring big and scheduled a growth ultra sound for the following week. We had an ultra sound on Thursday that week and from all things we could see we were right on track. The next day I got a call around lunch time from the nurse that my husband and I needed to come talk to the doctor at the end of the day. Being pretty scared by this point, we came home from work and waited the dreadful hours till our appointment.

The doctor saw us 5:00 on Friday night, and that was when she told us that things didn't look good. They told us our daughter's legs were not growing, her kidneys could be calcified and that they saw extra digits on her hands. They said it appeared she had some kind of syndrome, but that they weren't sure of which one. As you can imagine at this point our world was crashing around us. Words were thrown around but the one that is burned into my brain was "terminal."

Our Doctor told us that we needed to get into the specialist in order for them to determine exactly what was wrong with our daughter, but seeing as it was Friday we needed to wait till next week to get an appointment. Needless to say it was the worst weekend of our lives trying to wrap our heads around the news, let alone try to explain to our family and friends. The following Thursday we got in to the specialist and after hours of genetic counseling and intense ultra sounds, they were able to narrow the syndrome list to approximately 10 different ones, some still very bad. The good news was that they weren't seeing as extreme symptoms as the first ultra sound. Although her legs were short, they were only measuring a few weeks smaller than 33 weeks.

Of all the symptoms at this point, I can tell you our biggest worry was her kidneys, and it was rather questionable between the specialists on whether there was a problem with them. Some saw some calcification and others didn't. With only a few weeks left we had many more appointments and ultra sounds, and in week 37 the specialists gave us the best news we could get at that point. In their expert opinion, my daughter would be born with isolated polydactyl.

What is that I asked. She has extra fingers and possible toes. Really??? After all that, that is it? With a team of doctors in the delivery room ready to wisk her away to the NICU, she came out and I heard the doctor yell, Lucky number 24! My beautiful baby girl was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes! They did wisk her off to the NICU along with my husband after she was born and found that she was perfectly healthy.

We had genetic testing and all kinds of tests in the first three months and they reaffirmed that it was not a syndrome. We did find out that extra digits is one of the more common birth defects. Who knew? Shortly after she turned 6 months, we had her extra digits removed. She just turned 1 and is the healthiest beautiful little girl. Not short either (82nd percentile) :)

She will probably never believe us when we tell her about her fingers and toes later in life, but we'll assure her she is our miracle!

From Alli in California


Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I'll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I'd love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to


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Blogger Hil said...

What a beautiful ending to a potentially tragic situation. I know all to well how it is to find out your child has a terminal condition.

What a great story! Thank you for sharing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 5:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Marianne & Clayton said...

What a sweet little miracle. I loved this story, thanks for sharing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 6:28:00 PM EST  
Blogger Amber said...

thank goodness that was all it was....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 7:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger Christy said...

What a sweet story, and I'm so happy it had a happy ending. Glad she shared it with us!

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 1:08:00 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Tunnell said...

Thank you for sharing all of these stories! As I move closer to the time my little one will join our family I am inspired (and love a good cry each day) and realize how each baby has a story as it comes into this world. 6 fingers or not.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 2:12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 39 years old and was born with 2 thumbs on my left hand. The extra one was removed when I was one day old. My kids didn't believe me even when I showed them the scar until I showed them the only picture we have of me with my extra thumb. They weren't that impressed! Holly

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Katie said...

That is a sweet story with a happy ending.

My son was the opposite...missing toes. Amputation was the verdict, but no syndrome.

Now he's a happy, thriving 4 year old with a "Batman" prosthetic leg.

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 4:09:00 PM EST  

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