Miracle Baby Has Surgery in Womb to Prevent Life-Threatening Condition

baby's footWhat we all worry about during pregnancy is that our baby is healthy and doing well in our womb. And if there is something wrong, you hope for a miracle. That's exactly what Marci Barney hoped for when she learned the baby in her belly had Spina Bifida.

Spina Bifida is when the fetus' spinal cord doesn't close all the way during development. It can cause paralysis and learning disabilities, and in severe cases lead to hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain, which can be fatal.

But there is a radical open-fetal surgery that can be performed while baby is still in the womb -- it used to be only done right after birth. Marcy and her husband Tracy decided on this procedure while the baby in her belly was 24 weeks gestation with hopes to repair the spine. Most pregnant women who undergo open-fetal surgery go into labor 10 weeks later, but Marci didn't make it that far.


Marci was on medicine to prevent early labor, but it was clear her little baby was ready to meet the world just nine weeks post-surgery at 33 weeks gestation. Though her official due date was June 15, baby Trinity Lucinida was born on May 1 at the Tucson Medical Center in Arizona via c-section. Little "Lucy" -- her nickname -- was 5 lbs. 2 oz. and 18 inches. She's the sixth child for the Barney family, and because of how well she responded to the surgery and birth, she is a little miracle.

So far Lucy is doing amazingly well, didn't need to be incubated, and has strong moment in her legs. Dr. Cathy Romero, who helped deliver the baby, said, "I didn't get to see the baby much during surgery and was very curious to see her back. When I finally did get to examine her, I was impressed. It just looked like a scar and had healed up so nicely in nine weeks."

Mom Marci cautioned that they still need to monitor the fluid on Lucy's brain closely until she is 2 years old. After a short stay at the hospital, the whole family is home now.

It's amazing how doctors can open up the uterus, perform surgery on a tiny being, and close you back up so baby can continue to grow in the womb. Though an extremely rare procedure, it is wonderful that it has the potential to help a baby be given a better chance at being healthy and thriving. Curious about this procedure? Click here to see another baby's fetal surgery and the doctor actually holding the baby's hand.

What do you think of this ground-breaking surgery? Would you consider it if you were in this situation?

Image via { pranav }/Flickr

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