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Elle - Georgetown, Indiana

My husband and I tried for 2 years to have a child. During that time I had 3 miscarriages and tons of heartache. Then our doctor sent us to a specialist to find out what was the problem. It turned out that I had Hypothyroidism, a disorder of the thyroid. Two weeks after we found out I had hypothyroidism, I found out I was pregnant. We were so scared. I hadn't been on the thyroid medicines that long, and we had already had three miscarriages. My husband and I weren't sure that this pregnancy would last. We were guarded and didn't let ourselves get to excited. Every week that went by was a victory in our minds. We made it to week 20 and found out we were having a little girl. It was such and awesome feeling to have made it that far in the pregnancy. When we hit week 24 I was starting to have lots of pain and discomfort. Everyone said it was my round ligaments stretching, but they were wrong. At week 25 I was in full blown labor with contractions every 5 minutes! They gave me Magnesium Sulfate to make the labor stop, and I was put on hospital bed rest for 3 weeks. I was then allowed to go home and be on bed rest for 5 more weeks, and I had contractions constantly. I had a couple more scares after that, but I held off my little girl until 33 weeks.

I was so scared on my way to the hospital. I can remember thinking, hoping, and praying that Elle would be able breathe on her own. It was a wild and crazy delivery. Even though Elle was only 4 lbs, and had been trying to get out this whole time, she staled at the very end. She turned her head, and was stuck. Her heart rate was dropping. It was terrifying. Finally after hours and hours of pushing, and being in labor for 2 months, Elle Louise Pendleton made her arrival.

There was a room full of doctors and they immediately took her away to the corner of the room to check her out. She was 7 weeks premature. My husband went over to see her and take her picture. He was gushing the whole time. "SHE'S PERFECT!" he said. "She is so pretty, she has your nose." I could tell he was already in love with our little girl. I will never forget my husband's initial reaction to Elle. She's perfect, and he was right! One of the neonatologist walked over to me, and gave me the report. "She's doing good, we are going to take her down to the NICU and do her evaluation, and oh....she is missing 3 fingers on her left hand."

I immediately replied, "Is she breathing?"

I didn't care one bit about her hand at that moment. My daughter was alive. I had a child to love, cherish, and take care of. That is all that mattered. The first time I really got to see and hold her was in the NICU. I went down there as soon as they would let me, and when I held her my heart was full. She was my beautiful little girl. She also immediately grabbed a hold of my finger with her thumb and pinky. From day one she was already saying that she could do anything with her hand.

My husband and I really didn't think about or worry about her hand until we got the important things under control. She stayed in NICU for two weeks. She could breathe just fine, but she struggled with eating. So she had a feeding tube for a week and a half. She also had Jaundice. One day they x-rayed her hand, but no one ever went over the x-ray with us. There really was no diagnosis, or explanation.

After two weeks she got to come home with us. That's when we started worrying about her hand. We dove into the internet searching for answers. How common was this? Is there anything we can do to help her? Are there other kids like her? Will she be able to use her hand? How will she feel about it? What will it be like for her in school? But the one question that we wanted to ask is....... why? You can't find the answer to that question on the internet.

We finally got some answers at her 6 month check up with the hand specialist. It was so nice to finally have someone go over her x-ray with us. Elle is missing several bones in her hand. She is missing her 3 middle fingers, and her thumb and pinky are missing bones too. We go back when she turns one. The doctor's are concerned about her thumb, because it seems to be growing backwards.

Elle is a little developmentally behind. She didn't push up on her hands or roll over for a long time, so the doctors recommended therapy. She is currently having physical therapy and occupational therapy twice a week at our home. She is making great progress. She is now almost 8 months old, and she is pushing up on both hands, and rolling over. She seems to be using her hand wonderfully. She can pick up objects, and she can definitely pull my hair with her left hand. Everyday she does something new. She is amazing, and I know that she can and will do anything she puts her mind to. She has been feisty since day one and I know she is a fighter.

Our journey to get to Elle was a long and twisty road, but it was well worth all the trials and tribulations. I can't wait to see where it leads us next!

Leslie Pendleton
Georgetown, IN

To communicate with Elle, send an email to her parents.

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