Spina Bifida literally means “split spine.” Spina Bifida happens when the spinal column does not close all of the way. It can happen anywhere along the spine but is more common in the lower sections. The backbone that protects the spinal cord does not form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. This occurs in the first month of pregnancy.
Spina bifida may cause physical and mental disabilities that range from mild to severe. The severity depends on:
- The size and location of the opening in the spine.
- Whether part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected.
Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. This number would be more than double if all women would choose life. More than 60% of babies diagnosed with Spina Bifida in the womb are murdered through abortion in the US each year.
The causes of Spina Bifida are unknown but research shows that if a woman takes 400 mcg of folic acid every day, before she becomes pregnant, she reduces her risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida or another neural tube defect by as much as 70%. Waiting to begin folic acid supplements (found in prenatal vitamins) until after you are already pregnant is waiting too long. Remember, the neural tube forms in the first four weeks of pregnancy before a woman even realizes she is pregnant. The exact cause of the remaining cases of SB is unknown.
A Piece of Our Story:
We did everything ‘right’ according to doctors. Being deep in my childbearing years and already a mother of 6 children, with 3 additional pregnancies that had ended in miscarriage, I was taking prenatal vitamins daily pregnant or not. The doctors do not know why our son’s spinal column did not form correctly but we do. We know God’s promise that Mason’s body was created on purpose, not on accident:
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” Jeremiah 1:5
I know God gave this body to my son to accomplish His purposes. I know that His plan is the best one, though it is often not the path we would have asked to walk. It is overwhelming to be the parent of a child with medical needs. Our entire family’s life was changed in more ways than I can count, most of them good.
I hope this that as you read our story this month you will be encouraged in your own challenges. God has a plan. He has not forgotten you or your child. I promise.