Nick Vujicic, an exceptionally talented boy born in Melbourne, Australia without limbs is now inspiring millions of people around the globe. In this article, I will describe how his parents reacted on his birth.
His mother, Dushka Vujicic was 25 years old when she became pregnant with him, her first child. She had been a midwife and worked as a pediatric nurse in charge in the delivery room where she provided care for hundreds of mothers and their babies. She knew what she had to do while she was pregnant, watching her diet, being cautious about medications, and not consuming alcohol, aspirin, or any other painkillers. She went to the best doctors and they assured her everything was proceeding smoothly.
Even still, her apprehension persisted. As her due date approached, Nick’s mother shared her concerns with his father several times, saying, “I hope that everything’s okay with the baby”.
When two ultrasounds were performed during her pregnancy, the doctors detected nothing unusual. They told the mother and father that baby was a boy but not a word about missing limbs. At Nick’s delivery on December 4, 1982, his mother could not see him at first and the first question she asked the doctor was “Is the baby all right?” There was silence. As the seconds ticked by and they were still not bringing the baby for her to see, she sensed even more that something was wrong. Instead of giving him to his mother to hold, they summoned a pediatrician and moved off to the opposite corner, examining him and conferring with each other. When his mother heard a big healthy baby scream, she was relieved. But his dad who had noticed that he was missing an arm during the delivery, felt queasy and was escorted out of the room.
Shocked at the sight of him, the nurses and doctors quickly wrapped him up. His mother who had participated in hundreds of deliveries as a nurse was not fooled. She had the distress on the faces of her medical team and she knew that something was very wrong.
“What is it?” “What’s wrong with my baby?” She demanded.
Her doctor would not answer first, but when she insisted on a response, he could offer his mother only a specialized medical term. “Phocomelia”, he said.
Because of her nursing background, his mother recognized the term as the condition babies have when they are born with malformed or missing limbs. She simply could not accept that this was true.
In the meantime, his stunned father was outside, wondering whether he had seen what he thought he saw. When the pediatrician came out to speak to him, he cried out, “My son, he has no arms”.
“Actually”, the pediatrician said as sensitively as possible, “your son has neither arms nor legs”.
His father went weak with shock and anguish. He sat stunned, momentarily unable to speak before his protective instincts kicked in. He rushed in to tell his wife before she saw Nick, but to his dismay, he found her lying in the bed, crying. The staff had already told her the news. They had offered to bring Nick to her but she refused to hold him and told them to take him away.
The nurses were crying. The midwife was crying and of course Nick was crying! Finally, they put him next to her, still uncovered and his mum just could not bear what she was seeing: her child without limbs.
“Take him away,” she said. “I don’t want to touch him or see him”.
She never knew that her son sans arms and legs will be touching hearts of millions of people around the world and he will be beacon of hope for them.