Sometimes you hear a medical story so incredible it fills you with hope for the future.
While attending a routine 20-week scan, 25-year-old expectant mother Bethan Simpson received some very difficult news.
Bethan’s unborn baby’s head did not have the correct measurement. She was then taken to Essex’s Broomfield Hospital, where her baby was diagnosed with having spina bifida.
Spina bifida is a condition whereby a child’s spine does not properly develop while they are still in the womb, which can impact their ability to walk.
Bethan and her husband were given three options going forward. They could choose to terminate the pregnancy, continue with it, or opt for fetal surgery.
This fetal surgery would involve taking the baby out of Bethan’s womb, operating on its spine before returning it to the womb, where it would remain for the rest of the pregnancy.
The couple decided to go for the surgery, which was scheduled during the 24th week of Bethan’s pregnancy at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. As reported by the International Business Times, Bethan is only the fourth woman in the UK to undergo this pioneering surgery.
Thankfully, the operation was a success and Bethan has since given an update on her baby’s progress.
Taking to Facebook, Bethan wrote:
We were a success. Her lesion was small and she smashed surgery like you wouldn’t believe. I’m fragile and sore but as long as she is doing fine that all we care about. Kieron has been the most amazing person in this as has our families.
Her brain is looking good and her ventricles are normal which luckily hers always have been. They took her out of my womb and popped her straight back in to stay there as long as she can.
The proud mum-to-be continued:
Sadly 80% of babies in England are terminated when their parents get told their baby has this condition. It’s not a death sentence. She has the same potential as every one of us. Yes there are risks of things going wrong but please think more about spina bifida. It’s not what it used to be.
I feel our baby kick me day in and day out. That’s never changed. She’s extra special. She’s part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life.
All the very best of luck to brave Bethan as she prepares to bring this new, tough little life into the world.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.