Rosie Higgs discovered at her 20-week scan that her unborn son was likely to have Amniotic Band Syndrome, where strands in the womb entangle a baby’s limbs and inhibit proper growth. A mum whose son was born without legs and with one arm with a webbed hand says she never considered terminating her pregnancy as she praised her “perfect” little boy.
The 29-year-old mum was informed her son was likely to have Amniotic Band Syndrome – where strands in the womb entangle a baby’s limbs and inhibit proper growth. Following the news, she was questioned by friends and family about whether she would terminate the pregnancy given the challenging life he would face. But now as she looks at her “perfect” 11-month-old Henry gurgling with delight playing with his rubber bath toys she knows it is the “best decision” she has ever made. The special needs school care assistant said: “I was keeping him – no matter what I was advised.
“People warned he might have a tricky life full of limitations but I didn’t listen. Even though Henry doesn’t have all his limbs, I’m determined he will have a fantastic and full life without limitations.”
Her partner Peter, 39, agreed with her. She said: “Peter and I decided Henry deserved a chance. Peter was so supportive and we made every decision together. “We knew we would never terminate the pregnancy. Working with special needs children every day, I knew Henry would be OK. “It was scary at times being pregnant. I had scans every four weeks – they kept a close eye.”
To make matters worse, due to the pandemic, Rosie’s supportive mum, Paula, 55, could not be at the birth at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow. Rosie said: “It was heartbreaking, especially as Henry was high risk. ‘Luckily the midwives were absolutely incredible. I was so stressed throughout my pregnancy and when Henry was born the midwives asked if I wanted to see him straight away because I was nervous.
“Scans can only tell you so much. It was such a build-up and a worry when he first came out I didn’t know what to expect.”. Henry was born by cesarean weighing a healthy 8lb 2oz. Midwives took Henry to one side and Peter, an Emirates facilities seating supervisor, saw him first. Rosie said: “As Peter passed me, my little boy, I fell in love with.”
When Rosie took the tot home sister Alice, 13, and brother Michael, seven, didn’t bat an eyelid at his physical differences. Henry loves playing with his older brother and sister. Rosie said: “Alice treats him like her own baby. She loves him so much. She’s his second mum. “Regular baby clothing is very difficult as you have to roll everything up or it looks ridiculous. Mum likes to crochet and knit so she makes him outfits.”
Henry had surgery at Great Ormond Street to separate his webbed hand. Rosie said: “He’s can pick things up without any problems. He’s progressing really well and is happy. “He’s babbling all the time like he’s talking to you and replying. He wakes me in the morning with his chatter.”
The family has been supported by Reach, a charity that helps kids with upper limb differences lead full lives. She said: “Thanks to the charity I’ve been in contact with loads of parents in similar positions. They’ve really helped me get through it.
Rosie added: “He might not have all of his arms and legs, but he’s absolutely perfect to me.”
Peter and Rosie hope their experience will make adults realize it is all right for their children to be different. Rosie said: “I know he will always be a little bit different but we take it day by day and I know he’ll be able to cope.” ‘But he is such a happy chap and doesn’t let his disability hold him back in any way. He’s a flirt, he’s got a cheeky smile and he’s always laughing. He loves his big sister.