A little girl who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida in the womb is now freely walking, running, and even climbing thanks to a pioneering in utero surgery which she underwent after her mother refused to consider abortion.
Bethan Simpson was 20 weeks pregnant when she was told that her daughter would be born with the spinal condition, in which a baby’s spine can develop improperly and lead to paralysis, complications with internal organs, and even brain damage.
The mother was offered the option to terminate her baby — but she would not entertain this option for a moment.
“That was never an option for us and something we never considered; we were told a lot of people choose to terminate because babies often won’t have function of their legs and can’t walk or talk,” she says, according to Right to Life U.K.
There was, however, another option available to the young family.
“I went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London Hospital where I had a second opinion and that’s when I was told about this new procedure that was being trialled,” she explains.
Bethan was 25 weeks pregnant when doctors performed the surgery, which aimed at correcting the baby’s defect by closing the gap in her spine that can develop improperly with Spina Bifida.
“If we hadn’t done it, her nerve damage could have been significant and she could have had brain damage,” she explains.
“We were only the fourth one in the UK but I’m quite a positive person and I trusted them – now there’s a lot more of these procedures happening which makes me even more happy we went ahead with it,” Bethan says.
Now, little Eloise is not only healthy and active, she’s even “sporty” as her proud mother says.
“She doesn’t need any physiotherapy; she can run, jump, spin, climb a flight of stairs, climb tables, use her climbing frame and she’s very sporty,” Bethan says of her strong little girl.
“We can’t believe how well she’s doing given her prognosis; we could never have imagined that she would be how she is now.”
Praise the Lord for this loving family and the hard-working doctors who worked so hard to save a young life that so many would consider best served were it snuffed out in the womb.
As Bethan says, Spina Bifida doesn’t have to be a “death sentence.”
“I don’t think termination should be the first point of call,” she explains. “Even if she didn’t have the surgery, I know she still would have had a good quality of life.”
“She may have still walked but needed to use splints but why do we judge that?” the mother says. “People need to know it’s not the end of the world and there are other options to look at before opting for a termination.”
It is a heartbreaking lie to tell young parents that their baby’s life won’t be worth living just because it might face challenges.
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