My Child is Different

During some net surfing the other night I came across a website called Women Today and there I found a really amazing story that I had to share with you…….

My Child is Different

by Alli Vail with Anita Aubuchon

My second husband and I were married on August 5, 2000 and we immediately began talking about having a baby together. Although I was 38 and had three beautiful daughters from my first marriage, I wanted to give my husband a child of his own. We named the child we were planning Zachary Curtis and I told my husband that I knew we would have a boy.

In December, I found out I was pregnant.

The doctor that delivered the girls had retired so I began going to a new doctor. I took the girls with me to one appointment so they could hear the heartbeat. However the doctor came in and announced that it looked like the baby wouldn’t survive after birth.

I sent the girls to the waiting room and listened in shock as she proceeded to tell me that, based on a blood test, it appeared the baby had Trisomy 18 and would die. Hysterical, I could barely hear her say that she had scheduled a sonogram at a local hospital. All I could hear was my baby as going to die. Pulling myself together I hugged my three daughters and told them everything would be okay. Then, I called my husband and started praying.

We kept our appointment for the sonogram and saw a genetics counselor who told us that it appeared the baby could have Downes Syndrome or could be severely deformed and mentally retarded. There was no mention of Trisomy 18. She advised us that we should seriously consider abortion but we adamantly refused, telling her that God gave us this baby and it was up to God to take the baby.

But I was terrified.

What if this baby was severely deformed or some monster? I began praying for a healthy baby and asking God to comfort me. The sonogram showed that the baby boy looked perfectly normal. There were no signs of the webbed feet and hands or malformed ears that come with Trisomy 18. I told the doctor the baby was in God’s hands and I thanked God.

I changed doctors and I had to have my sonograms at a hospital that specialized in sonograms for my age group. When I was seven months pregnant, the new doctor scheduled another sonogram. He said that our baby looked good except his arms and legs were shorter than they should be for his stage of development.

When I went back for the next sonogram, he measured the arms and legs.

He told us that the upper arm bones and the thighbones were not growing normally and that the baby had a mild case of achondroplasia dwarfism but his heart and chest cavity looked normal. I had never heard of this and the questions running through my mind were endless. I continued to pray.

I was once again shocked. What did the doctor mean, dwarfism? Why couldn’t I have one more normal baby? Could this be fixed? Even though I knew it might true, I prayed the doctor was wrong.

I read everything I could on the Internet about achondroplasia dwarfism. The questions kept running through my head — why me? Did I do something wrong? Is there a cure? Would I love him? I just kept praying. Only now, I prayed for strength, guidance and understanding.

At my next appointment, the doctor explained that normal height parents could have a baby with achondroplasia and we had done nothing wrong. I told the doctor that God obviously felt I was special enough to have this baby.

Two weeks past my due date, I was scheduled to be induced. Scared, I prayed and felt comforted. Close to Zachary’s arrival at the hospital, I got scared again. I started thinking about all the things the Doctors had said. Would my baby live? Would he be okay?

Zachary arrived.

He was beautiful; dark hair, ten fingers, ten toes, two ears, two eyes, a healthy set of lungs and weighing 7lbs 14ozs. He looked like any other baby, well proportioned and perfect. I did not believe he had achondroplasia dwarfism.

When Zachary was four months old, his doctor scheduled an appointment at a children’s hospital’s genetic clinic because he was concerned that his legs and arms were not growing normally. At that appointment he was diagnosed with achondroplasia dwarfism. I knew he was different; I just didn’t want to face it. When I bathed him he was all head and tummy.

I again got on the Internet and read everything I could. Zachary would be between three and four feet tall. We would have to reconsider all the everyday things that we had always taken for granted like reaching for light switches, the toilet, and doorknobs.

Sitting out in the waiting room for his six-month check up again filled me with doubts. Looking at kids his age was tough. Other mothers stared and commented on his small size. I wanted to say that their babies are so big.

It had never occurred to me that I would ever have a baby that would illicit stares.

It took me a long time, but I realize that Zachary is normal. There is no cure because he does not have a disease. He is just short. I realize that it’s impossible to predict how tall, pretty, smart or successful any child will be. Only God knows what Zachary’s future holds.

I believe that I have this baby for a reason. It may take me a lifetime to understand why, but it will be lifetime of joy. All my children are special, but Zachary is a different kind of special and he is a blessing to my family!

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