Fetal Surgery | Spina Bifida

November 03, 2017 Rachel Rowbottom 1 Comments

A team of surgeons performs experimental surgery on a fetus with spina bifida at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. A miniature telescope and camera are inserted into the mother’s uterus, above, after it is lifted from her body. CreditBéatrice de Géa for The New York Times
   This October, a surgery was performed on an unborn baby with spina bifida. The 'New York Times' posted the phenomenal photos of the surgery, taking place at the Houston based Texas Children's Hospital. 
   The baby was 24 weeks old, and weighed less than two pounds. The condition was severe, causing damage to the backbone and spinal cord development. It was likely the baby would have paralysis, brain damage, and other complications if the condition was untreated. 
  Only 13 hospitals across the US perform this operation. 68% of babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted, but these surgeries have been performed since the 1990s.  

Dr. Belfort, right, and a team of surgeons performing the experimental operation to mend Mrs. Royer’s fetus. Her recovery was difficult, but she feels surgery was the right choice. CreditBéatrice de Géa for The New York Times

       Termination was mentioned, and pushed, but luckily this baby's parents agreed not to abort him. It was seen that the baby could kick his legs, and that was a good sign. His mother said, a person being unable to walk doesn't ruin the quality of their life. We completely agree.
      The decision was made to operate. Throughout the process, the doctors and parents acknowledged that this was a life, a fetus, a baby, a person.

  "Addressing Mrs. Royer, he [the doctor] said: “This is experimental surgery, with no guarantee. You are the person who will take the risk for another person. There is no mandate for you to do this. Nobody will think less of you if change your mind, and you can change your mind until the last minute, until you go to sleep.”
     She didn't change her mind. The surgery began. Anesthetic was given to the baby, witnessing to the fact the baby could feel pain. Video screens, and images helped guide the doctors and nurses and they got to work. 

A miniature cameras and light inserted into the uterus permitted the surgeons to see the fetus as they completed the operation. CreditBéatrice de Géa for The New York Times
   As you can see on the screen, the baby was already well developed at 24 weeks. 

   "The patient, still inside his mother’s womb, came into focus on flat screens in a darkened operating room. Fingers, toes, the soles of his feet — all exquisite, all perfectly formed." - NYT
   He is due January 14th 2018. We are looking forward to seeing him, and praying and hoping everything goes well.

      This story is a wonderful testimony, and the photographs are amazing witness to life in the womb.

     Another fetal surgery was performed on 23.5 week old Carter Hilton, a baby with the spina bifida. He was the first to have the surgery at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, at the University of Michigan. His parents said that it was an easy decision to make - surgery > abortion. 

Carter Hilton

He is now two years old, and his parents are happier than ever about their choice to have the surgery. Although there are many difficulties in his life, he learning to walk, and is a happy child.

You can follow the story, and read updates at - http://babyhiltonspine.blogspot.ca/

Although spina bifida is disorder that causes a lot of difficulties in a person's life, and in many cases can cause an early death, 30-40s, it is not a reason or excuse to abort your baby.

   Bob Vosburg was a sportswriter, father and husband. According to Kayleen Cubbal, "Bob had four loves in his life — his family, his God, his work and sports." 

   He always knew he had a disability, but doctors didn't know what it was. As a child, he used leg braces and crutches. At 50 he began using a wheelchair. At 77 he learned that he had spina bifida. 

    This didn't stop him in his life, from pursuing his passions, getting married, having a child, and changing lives. 

   In 2013 at the age of 85, Bob passed away. 

  This all goes to prove that medical technology is advancing. But the value of live has always been the same. There will always be risks to life, but it is worth it. Bob was able to live a life of happiness despite his disability. Carter is growing, learning, and providing his family with joy. We can't wait to see what this new baby, due in January will do. Already making news, and raising awareness to the preciousness of life, we can't wait to see what this little baby boy, due in January will do. Whatever it is, it will be great. 

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