'My baby was born twice!' (Yep, you read that right...)
And they celebrate both birthdays!
By Practical Parenting team
February 12 2019
A shocked mum gave birth to her baby son twice in ten weeks - after he was diagnosed with a serious medical condition half way through her pregnancy.
At her 19-week ultrasound scan, Joni Reinkemeyer found out that Jackson, her then unborn baby, had Spina Bifida - a condition that affects the normal development of a baby’s spine because there's a gap in the spinal cord.
When Joni heard that doctors wanted to operate to fix the gap, she assumed it would be after her son was born. But, they had other plans, meaning her baby would be born twice.
The operation is very rare because there are plenty of risks involved. It means “delivering” the baby, operating on it, and then returning it to the womb to complete the rest of the pregnancy—hence being “born twice.”
Joni's doctor, Dr. Michale Bebbington, admitted this kind of surgery has only been done “a few hundred times worldwide,” and only “about one in five of those who are referred for evaluation will be eligible and willing to undergo surgery.”
Luckily baby Jackson was eligible and as his mum told The Sun, they were prepared to take the risks after the surgeon explained them thoroughly.
'He revealed an operation like that had never been done before in the hospital,' says Joni. 'And warned us our baby could die.
'But, after carefully thinking, Chris and I decided we had to take a chance. If it could help our baby live an easier life, we wanted to do it.'
The operation took place at the end of Joni's second trimester, when doctors thought he’d be big enough to survive the surgery - and there were 32 people in the operating room.
'My little boy weighed just 1lb at the time,' says Joni.
'Doctors drained the amniotic fluid from his spine, and then stitched up the hole.
'When I came round, I started having contractions, so I was put on complete bed rest. Thankfully they stopped.'
Thankfully, the surgery was successful, and after about 10 weeks, Jackson was brought back into the world via C-section for the second time!
During the time between the two births, Joni was on complete bed rest.
'I was in love from the moment I saw him,' says Joni. 'When I first heard his scary diagnosis, I wish I had known how wonderful he would be - it would have taken all my fears away.
'Jackson is doing so well now, despite having been through so much in his little life.
'People have asked if he will have two birthdays – and, seeing that he was born twice, I think we can allow him two cakes!'