grandma’s gertie

gertieSubmitted by Heide

My name is Heide and I am the proud new Grandmother of a beautiful little girl, Gertie.  She is my first Grandchild.  I love her more than words can fully express.  My Granddaughter is beautiful, smart, and happy & I am truly thankful for her presence in my life.

As a result of Amniotic Banding Syndrome (ABS), Gertie was born without her left hand.  The irregularity was discovered during a routine ultrasound, when my daughter, Janine was only 14 weeks pregnant.  Janine was quickly referred to a fetal specialist, who performed a 3-D ultrasound and confirmed her child was missing the left forearm and hand below the elbow.  My other daughter, Christina and I were there in the exam room, when both Janine and her husband, Jordan were informed by the doctor of the situation.  The specialist matter-of-factly told Janine she still had several more weeks to consider legally “terminating the pregnancy.”  As a Christian mother, I was never so proud of my daughter, when I heard her tearful reply: “That is not an option.” Janine’s candid response reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures, Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way (s)he should go, And when (s)he is old (s)he will not depart from it.”  My daughter knows GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES.  Each of us are, by His perfect design, “fearfully and wonderfully made.”-Psalms 139:14.

Everyone in the room was shocked by the news.  Both my daughter and son-in-law were initially riddled with grief, wondering if perhaps they themselves had done something wrong which may have caused this unfortunate situation to happen.  However, the more our family learned about ABS, the better we each came to understand no one is at fault.  It just happens!  In fact, one in every 10,000 births are affected by ABS.  Hopefully in the near future, in conjunction with early detection, new surgical intervention techniques will readily exist to eliminate ABS altogether.  Releasing by severing any constricting bands during the baby’s development, while it is still in utero, will likely prevent added injury/cost/hardship to all.  Until then, I hope anyone who reads my account will agree, all these special children are blessed miracles and have a right to live.

Personally, I am blessed by Gertie’s awesome smile and the joy she brings our entire family and everyone else.  Incidentally, Gertie won the Baby Beauty contest in our home town this year (2009).  Both she and her mother were honored celebrities in the 4th of July parade and featured on the front page of the local newspaper and the article helped raised awareness about ABS and was inspirational to parents of special needs children.  An awesome accomplishment already, especially considering Gertie is just 6 months old.  It will be exciting for the rest of us to see what other incredible successes Gertie, and others like her, will attain in their lifetimes.

Stay tuned …

About editor

Kara Ferris is the Executive Director and editor of Wife. Mom of 3. Lover of people. Connoisseur of espresso. Master of Crazy Hair. Heart that beats for Jesus. Passion for those with disabilities, bringing honor, value and raising awareness of God’s intent and purposes for EVERY life. Blessed beyond imagination.


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  1. It’s funny because when I looked at the picture of this beautiful little angel, I didn’t even notice her missing hand! Only when I read the story did I look back and notice it. She has such a captivating smile that her disability is not what people will first see…and I can’t believe the ultrasound tech recommended abortion over this issue! She is a true gift from God and you are truly blessed!!

  2. I’m with Jodi. I totally didn’t notice her missing hand. She sure is a blessing to many!

  3. NO WAY, was abortion a option! There is no way I could imagine janine or jordan not only considering such a thing, but to know that they would miss such a beautiful, incrediably gifted girl… she will be just like everyone else. I say she goes out for MISS AMERICA! shes a doll! :)
    ** your adopted auntie**

  4. So NOT an option.

    Your other adopted auntie loves you Gertie girl!

  5. That was beautiful, just like Gertie! We love her so much and she just blesses eveeryone’s socks right off!

  6. Heide, your story came on Facebook as I was at the birth of my granddaughter, Jaida – who was born with the middle three fingers on her right hand missing from ABS. I had never heard of this syndrome until the day she was born – and am finding stories like Gertie’s so uplifting! It was a shock to all, since her fingers were never diagnosed on the multiple ultrasounds my daughter had during her pregnancy. Thank you for sharing – I was blessed!! Our Pastor said on the first Sunday I was back home, “that God is in control of our tomorrows”. Something I have needed to repeat to myself time and again!! God bless you all!!

  7. Heidi,

    I am a recent mother of twins, one of which has ABS also, his right arm never formed below the elbow either. Difference is with twins it was never detected in the womb, I found out after delivery. Yes it was a shock to everyone but you know what he’s beautiful no matter what. He’s loved just as much as his brother and will never be treated different.

  8. Gertie, looks beautiful. I was born exactly the same with missing lower left forearm. I never knew about ABS until a couple of years ago, It helps to know how it happened. I am 49 now. I can assure you Gertie will be just fine. Sharon

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