My youngest daughter, born this February, got here into this world with zero issues. A birth defect was the very last thing on our minds. My husband caught her as she emerged after one lengthy, gradual push. He positioned her on my chest simply as snow started to softly fall, coating the buildings round us in a layer of recent, white, icy newness.
She spent the primary hour or so being held by me and her father. We gushed over her compact measurement, her cute little ears, and her quick makes an attempt to nurse. We’d accomplished it. By the grace of God and all issues holy we’d made one other little human being; candy, delicious, lovely, and complete.
All of us dozed and doted on one another till it was interrupted by Annie’s first check-up. By that point we had been wanting to learn the way her weight and peak in comparison with her sisters. It was throughout that examination that the nurse first seen that Annie’s foot had some irregularities.
It is likely to be arduous to inform on this image, however her left three center toes are shorter than those on her proper foot. The nail can be not rising on high; it’s rising on the sting of her toe. Her center toe was additionally sporting a scab my husband started affectionately calling her talon. It lasted till month four and now we sort of have a nail rising there.
I held off for about 4 hours earlier than I attempted researching her signs on-line. Annie’s birth defect wasn’t actually searchable although. She didn’t have a acknowledged situation. Fortunately her malformation didn’t point out there have been extra points internally, which was our biggest concern.
Annie’s shortened toes don’t point out an inner downside based on her pediatrician. We’re undecided if it’s genetic or if her little foot ran out of area whereas she was rising in my womb. I, after all, felt responsible about that and tried to search out out what month the fingers and toes are shaped; week 9. They even have candy little toenails by week 10.
Though all indicators point out that is merely a beauty challenge we adopted up with a specialist at Seattle Kids’s when Annie was 5 months previous to ensure we wouldn’t have any hassle strolling. She gained’t. Since strolling occurs along with your heel and the pad of your foot and her massive toe and little toe are of regular size no particular braces or assist will probably be wanted.
So, if this slight birth defect isn’t inflicting any issues and actually isn’t noticeable — can we even point out it? It doesn’t roll into dialog naturally. So, I’ve spoken to household and some shut associates about it. It appears pointless to attract consideration to it, however it’s additionally not one thing we’re hiding. Socially talking, I’m simply winging it.
The principle problem we’ll face is Annie’s feelings concerning issues as she grows up. In reality, once we noticed the specialist in Seattle the primary bit of recommendation she gave us was about serving to Annie emotionally as she faces questions introduced on by this distinction. The way in which we deal with this can dramatically have an effect on how she sees it. I hope on the most she’s just a bit embarrassed to put on summer time sandals and it’s not a harrowing school essay sometime.
We love our little Annie and her foot is the very last thing we take into consideration when she’s laughing, guffawing or screaming at us. I attempt to suppress the mother guilt when ideas creep in about elements out of my management like my “geriatric” maternity age, or the shut age hole between my two youngest. These issues didn’t contribute, however typically I can’t assist considering Annie joined our household by the pores and skin of her toes.
That’s the million-dollar query. How will Annie interpret any of this? All I can do as her mother is love her and provides her grace to really feel every thing she must really feel to course of her distinction. That’s what moms do, proper? Whether or not it’s a malformed toe or acute sensitivities or in a different way abeledness: We protect, we shield, we love and we ship our infants out into the world.
Photographs by Kelly Wilbanks