At first glance, Tayler Borre’s baby bump photo — complete with a tiny replica of Nemo, from Disney’s Finding Nemo — might lead you to believe that she’s a die-hard Disney lover, who just had to include her favorite character in her special moment. But the second I laid eyes on the photo, I knew there was more to it than met the eye. I had a feeling that the adorable little toy Nemo, cradled against that pregnant belly, likely meant the child inside would be born with a lucky fin of her own. And as it turned out, I was right.
I first spotted the touching photo on the Lucky Fin Project’s website, an incredible resource and online community for people with limb differences and their families. But even so, I still think I’d have connected the dots.
You see, I’m the mom of a kid with a limb difference myself, and we commonly refer to his “little hand” as a lucky fin. It’s an easy, relatable way to explain limb differences to other children, who are usually curious as to why my son Zack’s hand looks different than their hands. We use the Nemo reference because after all, everyone knows about Nemo and his lucky fin, and that’s usually the extent of the conversation and we move on from there.
In her now-viral Facebook post, Borre shares the details of her prenatal anatomy scan, which revealed that her daughter-to-be had her own limb difference.
“It was so great so see her!” she wrote in the caption. “We saw her little face, her feet, all of her organs were perfect. After the scan, I had a regular check up with my doctor, and he says he’s sending me to a fetal specialist. My heart dropped, I was so scared. I asked what was wrong and he didn’t go into detail … all he said was her upper half wasn’t measuring correctly. So, they sent me to All Children’s Hospital to have a better scan.”
It was at this point in Borre’s story that my heart ached for her. Can you imagine how those ambiguous words would strike fear in the heart of an expectant mama? Knowing something wasn’t quite right, but having to wait to find out exactly what?
The Borre family subsequently learned that their baby had amniotic band syndrome and would be born with no left hand. Amniotic band syndrome is a condition where the fetus gets tangled in fibrous, string-like amniotic bands in the womb. This restricts blood-flow and impacts the baby’s development, sometimes amputating the body part they wrap on to. The causes are unknown.
“It was so hard to hear that just thinking about how mean people can be towards people who are ‘different’ and of course not wanting anything to be wrong with your child,” writes Borre. “But, I was also at peace with the news because she measured perfect in every other way and she’s nice and strong! She is our Nemo. She has a fin that’s a little smaller than the other, but she will conquer anything her little heart desires to do.”
I’d seriously like to give Borre a virtual fist bump on that one, because she is 100 percent correct. Her little Nemo will do amazing things and will blow her away each and every day with what she can do. My son is 7 and he tells me he wants to be an artist and a teacher and a scientist and Anakin Skywalker. I smile and tell him he can do anything he wants. I also tell him that is a lot of stuff and he’s going to be really busy when he’s a grown-up! I don’t know if he’ll manage to do all those things, but if he doesn’t, I know it won’t be because of his limb difference. Anakin Skywalker might prove a little challenging, but then again, he always surprises me.
Borre closes her Facebook post with a reminder that a limb difference is not a disability or a bad thing. Speaking from the other side, she is absolutely right. My son is in no way disabled. He plays four sports, he can rock climb, swim, draw, paint … you name it. This summer, I watched him learn to play ping pong by serving the ball from the bend above his elbow. If you know a limb difference kid, trust me — they will never stop amazing you.
Congratulations on your healthy daughter, Borre family. We can’t wait to see what she will do.