Health Care Matters, Part 1

It’s All My Husband’s Fault.

I am an only child, so when I was pregnant with our first child, it was a very big deal for my parents. Unfortunately, they lived far away from us at the time and couldn’t be there for the birth. When my water broke three weeks before my due date, the family was put on high alert. About 30 hours later, our daughter Piper came into the world screaming and slightly blue, but 100% healthy.

After the initial hullabaloo and clean-up, phone calls to the family began. My husband has a big sense of humor and when he got my mother on the phone, he impulsively kidded her: “Stephanie is fine, the baby is fine – well, she has extra toes but other than that, she’s fine….” My mother immediately began reassuring him that that was no problem at all because it wasn’t uncommon and they’d remove the extra toes. I laughed and rolled my eyes. When he handed me the phone, I quickly assured my mother that baby Piper had only 10 toes, no more, no less, and was completely perfect.

Fast forward 23 months. We have just welcomed our second daughter, Zoë, into the world. This time, instead of quickly cleaning her and handing her back to me, the nurses spent more time checking her, and even calling in a pediatric specialist. It didn’t take long to find out that the reason for the concern: Zoë was born with extra toes. If she had had other birth defects, such as extra fingers or a cleft palate, the medical team would have been concerned about the possibility of bigger health problems. Fortunately she was otherwise fine and we were told not to worry.

Call it fate. Call it karma. But is there any way those extra toes were not my husband’s fault?

Zoe's special feet as captured in her baby book
Zoe’s special feet as captured in her baby book
X-ray of Zoe's feet shortly after she turned two
X-ray of Zoe’s feet shortly after she turned two