Brisbane couple welcome baby boy after surgery in the womb helps treat the spinal condition that forced mum and dad to terminate his older sisters.
Claudine and Dave Fitzgibbon were faced not once, but twice, with the painful decision to terminate a baby after two pregnancies in a row revealed the babies had spina bifida.
Spina bifida is a very serious condition affecting the spinal cord that would have meant their babies would have been physically and mentally impaired.
'I just couldn’t get my head around bringing a child into the world knowing that there would be a lot of medical intervention and not knowing if that child could ever be independent,' Claudine told ABC's Australian Story, describing the painful choice she had to make with husband, Dave.
The couple were delighted to discover that they were pregnant again, however, their developing boy soon showed signs of the condition as well.
'Initially I was really angry when we got our ultrasound. I just said "you have got to be joking, you have got to be kidding". This is actually getting quite stupid. And no one can tell us why,' mum recalled.
Thankfully, a new surgery has been pioneered that could make all the difference for this couple.
Performing surgery on the baby while still in the womb, doctors attempted to repair Claudine and Dave’s pub’s spine.
Baby Harvey was born at 33 weeks, and is healthy. It will be several more years before they’ll know how his spina bifida will affect his life.
With the surgery available mum Claudine says she can’t help but think of her two girls, Willow and Sophie, who did not get a opportunity for surgery.
'But I can’t torture myself with that,’ she says.
'I feel really strongly that the girls are on this journey very much because without them we wouldn’t have Harvey. I look at him and I just think that he is a miracle.’