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Noah - Salem, Oregon

When I first found out I was pregnant with our second child, Ethan, our first, was only 15 months old. “I can’t be pregnant again, already!” I thought, and my husband, Ryan and I gradually adjusted to the news. Little did we know, that God would have more news in store for us, and a big lesson in trusting Him. I was hoping for a girl this time, but at my 22-week ultrasound, we discovered we were having another boy. I think I was disappointed for about 2 seconds! The ultrasound technician did not say a word to us about any possibility of abnormality with our son, but about 10 minutes after the ultrasound was over, we were directed back to obstetrics to speak with a doctor.

Unfortunately, none were available, so a little while later, we were taken in to an office to speak with one on the phone. My heart started to race, as I knew something must be wrong. The doctor on the phone told my husband and I that our baby’s left hand and part of his forearm appeared to be missing. She did not see any evidence of a genetic disorder, but would send us to Portland for a more detailed ultrasound. Ryan and I were stunned. I cried a little, but then thought, okay, we can deal with this. It’s only an arm. The next few days were the hardest, as we had to explain to family, friends, and coworkers what we had learned. Ryan is a drummer, and it didn’t take long for him to get really sick of hearing friends remind him of the one-armed drummer that played for Def Leppard!

We had three more ultrasounds throughout the course of my pregnancy, and more scary news at each one. Our next ultrasound in Portland revealed a cyst in his brain, not a big concern, we were told, but possibly a genetic marker for Trisomy 18. The genetic counselor assured us that the chances were small, but offered us an amniocentesis to rule it out. We decided not to take the risk of the amnio and wait out the four remaining months trusting that in the end, whatever happened would be for God’s glory. Another ultrasound revealed a dilated kidney, another possible marker for genetic abnormality. I know for certain than God carried me through this time, as friends and family kept us in constant prayer.

In the end, and with an unexpected emergency C-section to rescue him from life-threatening drops in heart rate, Noah was born absolutely healthy, and exactly as God intended him to be. His kidney was normal size, the cyst in his brain had resolved, and thanks to a speedy C-section, he was as strong as could be. His arm turned out to be pretty much as we expected it to look, although even four months of adjusting to the news still didn’t totally prepare us for what it would look like.

Our son is beautiful. He was born with strawberry blonde hair, and my mom said when she first met him that he already had soulful, knowing eyes. I wanted to love his left arm as much as I loved the rest of him, but for a while, it was hard. He seemed off-balance, a bit incomplete. I was so worried whenever we took him out in public, that I felt I had to explain his arm to everyone who saw him. Do we cover it up, or show it off? Should his first pictures show his arm, or subtly hide it? I am embarrassed to say that it actually took several months for me to be completely at peace with it. Now, when we meet new people, I forget that he’s any different than any other baby. Stupid comments and sympathetic looks don’t bother me like they did in the beginning. I know that God made Noah this way for His own good reason, and he is an even more special child because of it. I love his arm and tiny starts of fingers, as I hoped that I would, and love it when he lovingly rubs his arm against my face. I think he is the most loved child in our church, and his strong and fearless personality assure me that his special arm will not hold him back in the least.

Noah’s older brother, Ethan, is still curious about it at times, but he already seems to understand that God makes us all different, and that Noah’s arm really isn’t a big deal. It’s just a part of who he is. Noah is now 19 months old, and is fiercely independent and strong-willed, but also loves to experience life and make us all laugh. I couldn’t imagine life without him, just as he is.

To communicate with Noah, you may contact his parents via email. They'd love to hear from you.

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