My Child Has A Hand Difference
My ultrasounds did not pick up any abnormality. Immediately after Phoebe’s birth her condition was detected. Hospital staff were not particularly helpful – obstetrician and midwife had never seen it before and didn’t really know what to say to us.
A paediatrician consulted my husband and I in the first hour after the birth and he was excellent. He diagnosed it straight away as Symbrachydactyly and was very positive and said that Phoebe could have some corrective surgery for the webbing which would have a good functional and cosmetic outcome. The paediatrician was also very reassuring that Phoebe would be able to manage tasks in life and would not be horribly adversely affected which was a big help in those first immediate hours after the birth. The paediatrician also confirmed that the cause was not genetic (a worry for me as I was an “older”mother!) – he also stated that it was not hereditary and would not be passed on by Phoebe to subsequent generations. Not sure how we would have gone with someone with less knowledge and positivity?
The paediatrician immediately wrote us a referral to see a hand surgeon whom we visited at 6 weeks. In the interim I googled a few overseas hospital sites for medical information on how they might operate and what the results might look like.
When visiting the hand surgeon I found he was quite busy and I did not get a good first impression, however he did give us a copy of the Aussie Hands brochure at the time and suggested that we make contact with them as he had heard very positive feedback about the organisation.
We sent in our membership application to Aussie Hands. I received a very supportive phone call straight away (can still remember it in my head like it was yesterday!) which was a great introduction – not at all pushy if we didn’t want to attend events but an open door for questions/moral support. It really just helped us a great deal to know that there was a Melbourne-based group that had so many kids (same age as Phoebe or a bit older) that had a hand difference. I feel like we are so fortunate to have lots of families ahead of us on the journey that I can chat to.
We returned to our GP for a new referral and I also asked Aussie Hands for other recommendations – coincidentally both our GP and Aussie Hands mentioned the same surgeon for Phoebe. We met him and were immediately reassured that we had found a great surgeon to place our trust in.