Building Jordan's new arm – Day 1

I feel like we’re total pros now that we’re working on Jordan’s sixth ever prosthetic arm process. The very first one when she was four months old was done the old-school way. It’s when you go in to have the arm measured and casted, then you come back every week to check a fitting, test a socket and eventually take the arm home. The prosthetic company in my town tried that and within a week, my four-month-old baby had grown out of her arm.

I knew I had to do something differently.

I found a group in Houston that builds prosthetics for children. I went down there two years in a row to build arms that were put together in five days. Unfortunately those arms eventually made Jordan mad. They didn’t do what Jordan wanted them to do and she would yell at them. I needed a switch to something that she could use without anger. That’s when I found David Rotter and convinced him to also go forward with the five day build process. We toned down the process and focused on passive and eventually body-powered prosthetics.

Today, Jordan got to work… Our new goal is to build a helper arm that has an elbow that Jordan and bend with her shoulder harness. David warned me that the process may not work immediately for Jordan and she could get aggravated. So he’s also building a release near the elbow so Jordan can use the harness or the elbow release. That will give Jordan options and less anger.

I totally support that.

Other tasks Jordan wants to get better at: swimming and pushups… maybe swinging a baseball bat.

You’re looking at the final structure of the arm until tomorrow. By the time we get to the office tomorrow, the team of men and women working on this prosthetic will have built it and included her super awesome Hello Kitty design. It’s super exciting. Jordan was kind of whiny during today’s building process. All of this stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, put on an arm, take it off process was “annoying” as she said. But she’s proud and looking forward to tomorrow. Oh – and she really likes Mr. David.

If you’re in the Chicago area, it looks like I have a Born Just Right meetup planned this Sunday at the Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier at noon. Please leave a message here or on the Born Just Right Facebook page and let me know if you’re interested in joining us!
Did you know we’re holding a fundraiser for Jordan’s birthday? Read more about it here or check out her birthday fundraiser page. Thanks so much for considering a donation for the No Limits Limb Loss Foundation so two kids can attend Camp No Limits


  1. Abby on December 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    We just saw David Rotter today. He is currently working on a prosthesis for my two year old daughter. He asked if I had heard of your blog. Funny this is…I have been following your blog since I was 20 weeks pregnant and found out that Hadley would be born without her left hand. What a small world and what a wonderful, intelligent man David is!

    • Jen Lee Reeves on December 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Abby! That’s so cool. He is incredibly intelligent. Jordan started working with David when she was two… Probably a couple of months before she turned three. I’m so glad you have a chance to work with him!

  2. Abby on January 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    We will be attending Camp No Limits this summer in Missouri. I assume that Jordan will be attending as well. We can’t wait to meet all of you!

    • Jen Lee Reeves on January 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      How exciting!! Yes we will be there. I can’t wait!

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