August 2008 is when a beautiful baby boy came into this world and made me a Mommy. There is a lot I can say about that night/morning; water breaking, labor, pitocin etc. But, this story is more about before I became a mom.

I met my husband way back in 1999 😮. We did the traditional thing, dated, engaged, married, moved {military}, thus becoming adults and productive members of society. We were both very young when we married, he was just 22, and I had turned 20 three short weeks before our nuptials. Being so young we decided to wait on kids, we had already had enough excitement in our short time together with the loss of my mom in 2001, and moving out of state and far from family with orders to Long Island, NY. I knew I wasn’t ready for children, I didn’t have a lot of experience with small people and babies growing up as an only child. I did have several close friends who were already moms and/or married so I had been around babies more once I was an adult. Being around them and having them is two TOTALLY different things. So I was perfectly fine being a ‘dog-mom’ to our Jack Russell Terrier, Tigger.

As time passed and several moves I had finished my Associates Degree in Rehabilitation Science and was a COTA/L. Working in pediatrics in Buffalo, NY I was 25 by then and the baby bug had bit me. I felt more comfortable with my ability to care for a small helpless adorable version of myself and my husband. Everyone at the school I worked at was pregnant, except me. We had been trying to conceive for 6 months before the little blue line finally showed up just after Christmas 2007. It was a great present! Reality then set in, holy sh*t I’m pregnant! We are having a baby!

I was nervous, excited and downright terrified about becoming a mom once it was reality. Most first time moms are I think, but most of them have their own moms to lean on for support. I had an emotional pregnancy knowing my mom was no longer here and wouldn’t be able to hold her first grandchild. I did take solace in my Dad being there, he came up to stay with us for several months just a few days before my oldest made his entrance. My Dad totally did the “grandma” thing, he stepped right up cleaning, doing laundry, holding the baby if I needed a minute, helped support my husband when I was emotional (hormones suck), LOL. My Dad was a superhero! He made the best of a situation no daughter should have to go through, becoming a mom without her mom. We were all sad when he went back to NC after 3 months of staying with us.

Besides missing my mom, I had other thoughts and concerns that I couldn’t escape related to my pregnancy and eventual child. At the 20 week ultrasound I made sure they checked to see if he 2 arms and hands. This is actually not a normal thing they “make sure of” because it’s expected. The scan is to determine if all the major parts of the baby are intact and growing typically. My ultrasound tech was very understanding and checked, we saw 10 fingers, 10 toes. Though there is no reason to think my children would have a limb difference since mine is not caused by a genetic disorder, I would rather be safe than sorry.

The rest of my pregnancy went without complications and Ethan was born at 37.5 weeks happy and healthy at 6lbs, 1oz! I was now officially a mom, with a baby in my arms! Holding him for the first time was amazing and terrifying. I didn’t want to jostle him around but had to find the best way for me to hold him to keep him safe and happy AND for me to still be functional. I figured everything out day by day, I was lucky with him and actually all my boys that they liked being on their bellies on my shoulder for cuddles and snuggles which allowed me to do things with my hand because I was able to hold them with my nub. I did prefer sitting while doing anything while holding them just because I felt more stability and it also took stress off my back, like most mom’s we would prefer to sit than stand when doing things!

I had learned that certain positions and things needed to be done in a particular way for them to be easier for me. I need the carseat to be on the backseat drivers side, because I’m left handed, It was easier for me to get babies in and out especially in the rear facing infant carriers. I always changed diapers with their head towards my right and feet at my left, or straight on if I was in the floor, I always fed my babies their bottles with their heads on my nub, my nub made the perfect cradle support for their beautiful little heads.  As they grew I could also feed them and play with them when sitting criss cross applesauce they were completely supported by my big mommy legs, LOL. Now I didn’t do everything with them on their backs, remember I have an OT background so we also did sitting and tummy time just like everyone else, those I really didn’t have to modify from anything a two handed mom does.  I chose not to use baby wraps and slings after trying them and my boys not enjoying them and also they made me extremely hot. But they were helpful if my boys enjoyed being held that way, they weren’t though. The biggest thing for me to learn was that I had to do what was right for me, and my child would adjust. It’s amazing how infants, babies and children know things, my boys weren’t horrible during diaper changes no wiggly craziness they seemed to know that I needed calm so that I could get the task done quickly and easily without trying to fight to hold on to legs flailing with no fingers on that hand. I also now see that I lucked out by having all boys, God, the universe whomever is in charge knew that I wasn’t the best at managing hairstyles and knew that boys’ hair is easier to do. So fate definitely had a hand in that! Not saying that I wouldn’t have figured out how to do my daughter’s hair but my time was better spent doing more important things per the universe 😉.

As the years have gone by and we have added to the family, my confidence has increased and I truly know my capabilities as a mother. Now we all have days when we question am I doing this right? But I know that those questions are ones that EVERY mother asks herself, I know that it really has nothing to do with my arm. So I can confidently walk though my life knowing that I may appear as a “disabled” mom but that there isn’t anything my “disability” negatively affects. Sometimes, I think that my boys have gained more from me have less limbs than if I were a “normal” 2 handed mom.

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