Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anna's Story

It's December 5, 2006. I'm 17 weeks pregnant and having a "routine" ultrasound. Rich and I are told that there are 3 babies sharing a placenta (WHAT?) and that Baby B has myelomeningocele - the most severe form of Spina Bifida - and hydrocephalus - extra fluid on the brain. Spina Bifida?? Back up. I thought that Spina Bifida was caused by lack of folic acid. Isn't that what is hammered into the brains of all women of child-bearing age? Take your prenatal vitamins if you are trying to get pregnant. I WAS taking folic acid.

So how did this happen? No one can explain. Identical triplets are created when an egg splits (identical twins) and then one half splits again. My doctor tells me that because of the multiple splits, birth defects are common. I search the internet for identical triplets when I get home. I see plenty and none of them have any birth defects. Was it the back to back pregnancies? No - I know plenty of women who have babies back to back and none of them have Spina Bifida.

Why do I need an answer? For my own piece of mind.

Anna had a neurology appointment a few weeks ago. Everyone is quite pleased with her progress. She can pull herself up, cruise holding onto items and can walk if assisted. The doctors "think" that she will be able to walk on her own - unassisted. Then the question of how did this happen comes alive again. I find that most doctors aren't philosophical - they know and stick to science. This doctor tells us that no one can explain why Anna has Spina Bifida and her two identical sisters don't. There may not be another set of identical triplets in the world like this. She says that maybe when we are old and reflecting on life and everything that Anna has taught us, we'll realize that there doesn't need to be an answer.

Do I still need an answer? No.

Anna - April 2007

Anna today...


Ellen said...

What a BEAUTIFUL little girl!! We are delighted to hear that she is doing so well!!

Amy said...

I am glad she is doing well! I had two identical girls and a singleton. One of my identicals had an encephalocele - her skull didn't fully fuse. Some things I've read say it's on the same continuum as spina bifida, others say it's not. The folic acid things comes up tons too - I was taking prenatals months before we even started trying to get pregnant, so what the eff?!

My surviving identical didn't develop the encephalocele, and it left me wondering like you - how NOT if they're identical?! (And I'm sorry I'm super reading back and commenting!)