In the beginning….

God created heaven and earth, and so on and so forth. Finally, in 1982 I came to this earth and surprised my much delighted parents with an undetected birth defect. I was born a healthy and happy baby, though because doctors didn’t know what they know now they approached my birth defect carefully. My beloved mother was scared when the room got quiet as I was delivered and didn’t instantly cry. She asked frantically “Is my baby ok?!”  I started to cry when they were cleaning me off and I didn’t care for it, haha. The doctors response to my mother’s question was, “Yes, it’s a girl, but….. we’re missing a hand.”

Instant relief is what my mother felt, as she told me in the story of my birth. She said to the doctor and nurses, “That’s fine give me my baby.” My parents had been trying to conceive for 2 years at the point when I came along.  They really didn’t care what if anything was “wrong” with me as long as I was alive. During my mother’s pregnancy she was very sick; like couldn’t keep anything down, was going to loose the pregnancy sick, what they now call hyperemesis gravidarum. Well, way back in 1982 standards in the pharmaceutical world were not what they are today. At no fault of my mother’s she was prescribed a medication that did, in fact, stop her morning sickness, with a side effect of birth defects. Side effects that weren’t listed on the medication, or that the OB/GYN was aware of. Now this is not an attack on that medication. I will say that legal actions by those affected were taken but nothing came of it.

Enough about that… The simplistic answer to what “happened to my hand/arm,” it’s a birth defect caused my medication prescribed to my mom for morning sickness. This is the adult answer I give when asked what happened.

Back to my birth and infancy, after the initial elation of being parents, the shock came. They weren’t expecting me to be missing a limb or part of a limb. What now? They had no experience with this, knew no-one who had either…. In walks the Shriner’s, a friend of the family knew about the Shriner’s and their Hospital for Crippled Children, so they recommended reaching out to them. At that point I was around 6-9 months old when I went to my first visit to the Greenville, SC hospital. Up until that point my parents did their best as they always did for me. My mom stayed home with me, my dad worked overtime at the local Goodyear Tire plant to subsidize income my mom would make so she could be at home with me. I was their first child, and everyone knows you have NO IDEA what you are doing. It’s a learning experience, and while you’re at it here’s a curve ball, help her figure out how to do everything with 1 hand, and be left handed….

Luckily, the universe gave me to the best parents, they handled it. I was always treated as capable, encouraged to try new things, never thought of as different. They are the ones who are the success story, they did something with no knowledge, no real resources outside of 2 visit’s to the Shriner’s every year for checkups and prosthetics. I am who I am because of everything they did.

In the beginning… I was given to the most amazing parents.


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