Understanding My Daughter's Dwarfism

Complications, Reactions

At 32 weeks, our experience with all the normal events of pregnancy came to a screeching halt. My doctor scheduled an ultrasound to check our baby's position and found something else entirely. Abigail's arms and legs appeared shorter than normal, two to three weeks behind her head and chest.

Moments later, we found ourselves at Yale-New Haven's perinatal unit, greeted by a series of blurry faces we would come to know well -- ultrasonographers, geneticists, the list went on.

It was here that we received the first piece of troubling news: Our baby's head and trunk were not in normal proportion to her arms and legs. That statement was followed by a cyclone of undecipherable words like "skeletal dysplasia" and "deviation from normal." Though the specialists had lots of words to throw at us, it would take two more weeks for us to find out what they all really meant: Our daughter was a dwarf.

We were devastated. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that on some level I we refused to believe it. Together, we struggled to accept a child who was different from what we'd thought she'd be. My husband's strength and optimism shone through quickly; he readily accepted the diagnosis. For me, it wasn't so easy. It took some self-pity and guilt before I dealt with the facts.

Imagine having an unborn child fail to meet your expectations -- to be judging someone you don't know based on their experience. It sounds so selfish.

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