- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) - The parents of Tucker Alan Doubet hold their 3-week-old baby close to them - snuggling him, stroking his long brown hair and wondering how they will meet the needs of their special child.

Tucker was born Dec. 13 by cesarean section at Pekin Hospital with no arms or legs. Other than that, he appears to be healthy, though doctors are performing tests to see what caused Tucker’s arms and legs not to grow during gestation and to see if there are any other problems associated with his condition of tetraphocomelia.

Tetraphocomelia simply means the “defective development of the arms or legs, or both, so that the hands and feet are attached close to the body,” according to MediLexicon.com.

Tucker is the son of Bradley Doubet and Amanda Perdew of Pekin.

The lack of growth of Tucker’s limbs could be genetic, but that is not yet known. Tests will be performed to determine a cause later.

Perdew said that she went to the doctor’s office to get a sonogram at 20 weeks and the doctor realized then that there was a serious issue with the baby.

“They didn’t see much of his arms or legs, so they sent us to Dr. (Charles) Egley at Methodist (Medical Group),” said Perdew. “He diagnosed it as tetraphocomelia.

“Their theory is that it’s a genetic issue behind it, but they have yet to find that out. We went (Wednesday) to OSF (Saint Francis Medical Center) to the genetics counselor and doctor and they’re going to run some tests later. Because he doesn’t have limbs it’s difficult for them to draw blood to do testing. They are trying to prioritize what to do first and stuff like that. We have to wait to find out if he has a certain syndrome. That would help us know for future children, and also for (Tucker) if he has children in the future.”

Perdew said Egley asked her at the time if she had ever considered an abortion.

“I never thought I would have to make that decision in my life,” she said. “It was a big (emotional) hit for me.

“Brad and I talked about it that night and wondered what kind of life we could give him, and if there would be mental issues as well. We could not help but think negatively that night. The next day Brad called me on his lunch break. We decided that it was not our decision to make - if he was going to live (when he was born), then we needed to let him live. No matter how he is, he is still our baby boy.”

Perdew is breastfeeding to give Tucker the advantages that it can provide.

The situation has been hard on all family members.

“I think I lost it more than anyone,” said Cindy Fitzanko, Tucker’s maternal grandmother. “I went to the sonogram appointment with them and when they were doing the sonogram I was thinking in my head, ‘I don’t see any arms or legs.’

“I thought maybe he was sitting in a fetal position, but when he called us in and told us I went hysterical - not just because of him, but because I couldn’t do anything for (my daughter). I couldn’t change the situation for her. Once he was born it doesn’t matter to me anymore. He’s still beautiful, and we will help them out in any way that we can.”

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