Fast forward to when I was 36 years old and in the middle of my 18-week pregnancy ultrasound. The technician was scanning the baby when I suddenly noticed something out of the ordinary. The baby’s foot looked exactly like mine (split cleft foot). I asked her to get a clearer shot and then before I knew it, she had been replaced by a specialist who continued the scan. The standard 15-minute scan turned into an hour-and-a-half and next thing, I was moved into the consultation room.
The conversation with the specialist was a bit of a blur. I went in for a routine scan and next thing I was in the specialist’s office being told to consider a “termination”.
The other weird thing about that day was that for 36 years, no doctor was ever able to tell me the name of the condition. I was always just told “Your body just didn’t finish growing”. Yet here I was being told the name of the condition. It was a very strange day.
During the rest of the pregnancy we tried to get more information on my baby’s condition (as the scan was very unclear) but to no avail.
Alistair was born on 10th October 2015. Alistair was born with just his little finger on each hand and two toes on each foot (split).
Up until Alistair’s birth I was really worried about how I would react when he was born. Would I be scared, worried, embarrassed, horrified? (Yes, I know this is strange coming from someone with the same condition – right?!) But when Alistair was born, all I could think of was “OMG how cute are his little feet and hands”.
Alistair is now two years old and wow, what an amazing personality he has. I think like me he will grow up not caring what other people think and although he has a lot less functionality than me, I know that he won’t let it stop him from achieving his dreams.
(It’s important for me to note that I have another child, Sebastian, who is not affected by this condition. We found out from geneticists that there is 50-50 chance of the gene being passed on).
If there is one piece of advice I could give that I have learnt through my upbringing – and also Alistair’s – it’s that the most important tool you can equip them with is confidence. When I was a baby and going through the normal developmental stages, most people wanted to jump on top of me to help me because of my hands. But just like with any other child with five fingers on each hand, I needed to learn on my own. I know that if my parents had assisted and smothered me all my life, I would not be the person I am today.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story! If you have any questions or want to chat please feel free to get in contact.