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Limb abnormality - don't know whether to terminate

(100 Posts)
InLondonStill Wed 20-May-15 21:35:03

At our 12 week scan last Thursday they found that the baby's lower arm (radius and ulna) hadn't developed properly. The upper arm is fine but there is basically no lower arm and the hand is only half-developed.
We saw a second consultant at a private clinic today and he confirmed the abnormality, and said that it definitely wouldn't repair itself. He said the baby probably wouldn't have a functioning limb below the elbow, so the hand wouldn't work much or at all. They don't think it's genetic, just bad luck.

We really don't know what to do.
We got pregnant really easily this time and my husband thinks we should terminate and we will probably be able to get pregnant again and hopefully have a healthy baby next time. He is very active and sporty and he would find it hard to have a child with a disability.
It's obviously not what I want either but i feel really guilty thinking about a termination - i keep thinking that it's only an arm, everything else looks normal, and that it could probably have a happy life, it would just be harder on us. I actually hoped they would find a chromosomal abnormality too as then it would make the decision easier to terminate but it really does seem like it's only the arm (although we can't be sure).

We've had four scans now and each time i see the baby moving around it gets harder. Probably the pregnancy hormones aren't helping. But I don't want to force a disabled child on my husband unless he was fully committed to it - I know it's going to be hard, and he would be supportive but it doesn't seem fair to him. And it's not like I'm sure I want to go ahead anyway, i just really don't see how it's possible to make a decision about something like this.

I'm booked into a termination on Tuesday because I thought that if we're going to terminate i want to do it soon as it will just be harder the longer it's inside me.

The consultant today said about half of parents keep the baby when this is found and half terminate. He probably just made that up so we would feel okay but whatever we decide. On google all i can find are stories of people talking about how much they love their children with disabilities - there are no stories of people saying they made the right decision terminating.

Has anyone else had to decide something like this? Sorry for the long post. But I don't want to tell friends because i'm worried about being judged or people asking me about it later when i might not want to talk about it, so I'd really appreciate some advice. I just feel like a really bad person to be considering a termination.

weebarra Wed 20-May-15 21:39:54

I had a friend at school with a similar issue. She adapted absolutely fine. One of the presenters on CBeebies has the same and it clearly hasn't affected her.
I understand that you have a very difficult decision to make - my children's issues (both life affecting, but hopefully not life limiting) weren't detected in utero, so I can't say for definite what I would have done, but if it's not likely to affect quality of life, I'd be loathe to terminate.

Piratespoo Wed 20-May-15 21:41:38

I know a child who has his lower arm missing....a beautiful lovely child who has a full and active life. Really, it could be so much worse.

Singleandproud Wed 20-May-15 21:43:36

I didn't want to read and run. The termination really has to be your choice otherwise you might regret it.

Child with disability scan be sporty particularly if it is just part of a limb and can have normal working lives.

I think if I were in your position I would continue. Having a disabled child would bring some new challenges but any of us can develop an illness or have an accident that can lead to life challenging injuries. I would be concerned that it might not be so easy to get pregnant next time and would regret not having the opportunity if I was unable to have another in the future. Although I guess if there were chromosomal abnormalities as well I might think differently.

I hope you can come to an decision with you DH that suits you both.

winnybella Wed 20-May-15 21:44:46

'Forcing' disabled child on your husband? Sorry, but that phrasing's just wrong.
Other than that, AFAIK children born with a limb missing adapt very well so I don't see why you think raising him/ her would be that hard for you two?

CultureSucksDownWords Wed 20-May-15 21:47:21

It's a big shock when things aren't as you expect them to be. I would just say that the decision is absolutely yours to make, and you need to make the decision you can live with.

I would want to say though, that I have had experience of teaching children with similar arm issues, and one of them was incredibly sporty and athletic. It didn't hold him back at all. Just look at all the para athletes there are, taking full and active part in life. I must admit I find it hard to understand your DHs worry about this.

GingerCuddleMonster Wed 20-May-15 21:48:28

it's such a personal decision. The onyly thing you can really down is sit down with your husband and discuss it at length.

I don't think anyone can tell you if its wrong or right, because it's neither.

My friend terminated her pregnancy when they discovered the baby had a physical disability, then went on to have identical twins.

I recently terminated a pregnancy because I couldn't afford to keep the baby. Terminations take place for lots of reasons, please don't feel your a bad person for talking about it or considering it. Talk to your husband and see where that goes thanks

Parietal Wed 20-May-15 21:49:17

if you aren't 100% sure you want to terminate, then I'd say don't.

Idefix Wed 20-May-15 21:49:56

This such a hard place to be op.
We were told at 20 week scan that ds had a kidney abnormality and were given counselling regarding our options - termination was discussed but I just couldn't. The day of the scan we discovered it was a ds and he had a name.
No one situation is the same and what was right for DH and me is not what would be right for someone else. Anyone who would judge you about this would be wrong to do so as they do not walk in your shoes. As a women who chose to keep a less perfect child I would never look negatively on someone who chose a different path.
Have you seen if you can get some counselling to help you and dh?

ScotsWhaHae Wed 20-May-15 21:50:54

I'm struggling to get my head around the fact that you are considering terminating because of your husband's attitude.

Swishyswashy Wed 20-May-15 21:51:20

It would really only be a very minor disability, and I say that as a parent of an extremely disabled child. Even with our son's problems life is good, he has fitted into our family as any other child would and I feel very protective of him. I am sorry that you have learnt your child has an abnormality of the arm, but I find it hard to imagine considering aborting a pregnancy at this stage for something that is essentially cosmetic. Partly that is superstition and knowledge that many, many things can go wrong before you get a healthy baby that grows into a healthy child. Getting pregnant easily is only the very beginning. Whatever your child is like you will love them exactly the same- arm or no arm- and hopefully your partner will too. Good luck.

MinimumPayment Wed 20-May-15 21:52:06

I'm really not going to try and tell you what you should do. I will only say that you really don't sound like a termination is what you want and I think coming to terms with having done that against your wishes will be much harder than a father loving a disabled child, which he will.

I love sports and thought I would share that with my two (able bodied) DC . Neither of them has ever had any interest whatsoever. Things don't work out the way we plan, and that's never truer than the expectations we have of parenthood. In fact the parent I know who is most involved with their child's sport is one who's involved in Paralympic sport.

Ediemccreedy Wed 20-May-15 21:52:35

I had an amazing boyfriend who had this deformity. He was an athlete at county level in a "racket type" sport. It didn't hold him back in anything. Nobody even noticed it.

Nellagain Wed 20-May-15 21:53:11

I know of a child with this and they appear to be doing fine.

One of my dc has a condition that could lead to disability but he is otherwise a very normal child and actually the brightest out of them all.
I think the key here is how do you feel? On the information you give it doesn't sound like a life changing disability. Dc isn't going to know any different. You will have a few more appointments to attend than others and maybe there is future surgery that will help,maybe not.

If you do go for termination I would say that you need to be doing this because you think it is best. If you don't and are doing it for someone else it could well lead to massive resentment.

GingerCuddleMonster Wed 20-May-15 21:53:19

I'll also add if your husbands concern is not being sporty, I'm the partner of a serving member of the armed forces, one of our friends lost both legs in a IED attack, he is know working on becoming a paralympic contestant for 2020 and is bloody fast on those blades. So if his only concern is not being sporty send him my way I can show him plenty of friends who are sporty with missing limbs smile

Chipsahoythere Wed 20-May-15 21:56:08

A friend of mine is a Paralympian with a similar arm disability. He's also a solicitor. Nothing has held him back.

You have to do what you want, not what you think your husband would want.

CorBlimeyTrousers Wed 20-May-15 21:56:37

What a shock this must have been. It does sound like you want to continue with the pregnancy. Have you told your husband that? I think it's unfair of him to pressure you into a termination you don't want (if that's what he's doing). I can understand that if you ARE going to terminate then you probably feel like you want to do it as soon as possible but I think you have to give yourself more time if you're so unsure.

Personally I think my own life would still be very much worth living without one lower arm. Has your husband looked at it that way?

MrsNextDoor Wed 20-May-15 21:56:44

this is your choice only OP. Your DH would more than likely come around to's very hard and I won't judge your partner for feeling the way he does but you must remember that it is YOUR body and you are the one who has to do the deed. Is there any counseling on offer?

RJnomore Wed 20-May-15 21:56:57

Whether or not you terminate is up to you, but I'd be considering whether I wanted to have any child with a man who seems to regard them as disposable and replaceable if they aren't perfect.

How would he react if your child turned out to have a hidden disability after birth?

Btw, when I do my kickboxing classes there's a bloke there missing a lower leg who trains with a sports blade, so a shortened upper limb might not mean Thr child isn't sporty, however a child who is perfectly able bodied may just not be interested in sports.

sebsmummy1 Wed 20-May-15 21:59:04

For me (who cannot have a second child due to recurrent MC) your age would be a huge factor here. Are you still young, below 35? If I were in my twenties or early thirties and already had a child or children I would terminate. If I was above 35 and/or this was my first child, I probably wouldn't.

Swishyswashy Wed 20-May-15 21:59:35

I actually feel quite sad that disabled life is valued so much less than the life of an able bodied person. Life is about so, so many things and can be very full and very happy without you having the perfect use of every limb. One of the challenges and also the beauties of having children is that they turn out in unexpected ways. Very sporty, intelligent, artistic parents to do not necessarily get children who follow in their footsteps. Parenting is about loving your child for who they are. Sorry that is not entirely fair to put to you when you are struggling with this, but please do not see a physical disability as a negative. It can mean your child will be a much nicer and more interesting person than they might have been and have understanding of other difficulties people may face. Hopefully the same for the parents too. It can be a positive!

FatAli Wed 20-May-15 22:01:15

Whatever you both decide, and there should be no judgement from anyone posting on here, just make sure it's your own considered choice too.

foolonthehill Wed 20-May-15 22:01:34

My grandfather had this...I don't know whether it helps to know that he was myhero?

there was nothing he wouldn't attempt. He rode a bike, worked til he was 75, put up shelves, played snooker and squash, was always surrounded by laughter and friends, married a beautiful woman and had 6 children. The only thing he didn't do was fight in the war (although he did try with false papers and once got as far as France!)

No-one can tell you what to do.You have to be happy with your decision but this impairment does not bring much disability with it and if your DH could meet somepeople with similar issues he might be reassured?

I wish you clarity and a combined sense of what is right as a couple. Best wishes.

33goingon64 Wed 20-May-15 22:02:46

If you're not 100% sure you want to terminate then don't do it. It shoyld ideally be a joint decision and I don't envy your situation but it sounds to me like it's DH who wants to terminate and not you. I don't know for sure what I'd do but from where I'm sitting I wouldn't terminate based on what you know. Good luck with your decision.

CMOTDibbler Wed 20-May-15 22:03:43

If you want to see some super sporty people with upper limb deficiencys, then look at Lauren Steadman and Claire Cunningham - they both compete at triathlon.

I lost the use of one arm as an adult, and tomorrow I'll be chucking myself in a lake as part of my triathlon training - I can swim 2.5km only using one arm (most of the congenital amputees are able to use their residual limb to swim), and cycle decent distances with a bike minimally adapted.

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