This baby was born twice thanks to a medical miracle.
Joni Reinkemeyer of Missouri was given a tough choice. At her 19-week ultrasound appointment, doctors diagnosed her unborn baby with Spina Bifida--a medical condition where the spine doesn’t fully form, leaving a gap. Without a fully formed spine, a baby might never be able to control any part of their body below the spinal gap.
Doctors gave Reinkemeyer a choice: either they could perform a dangerous operation to solve the problem now, or they could treat her baby after he has been born, but with a lower chance of success.
It didn’t take long for Joni to make her decision.
Reinkemeyer opted for the first option. Doctors explained that the best chance to have her child lead a normal life was to deliver him early, operate, and then place him back in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy. So in October of 2017--at the end of Joni’s second trimester--baby Jackson was “born” for the first time.
The operation was far from trivial. There were 32 people in the operating room with Joni, including two neurosurgeons and an entire NICU team. This particular procedure had only been performed a few hundred times in the world, and not all of them had been completed successfully.
Luckily for Joni, the operation went off without a hitch. Jackson’s spine was repaired and he was inserted back into his mother’s womb for the remainder of his term.
However, mother and son were not out of the woods yet. The operation was like having a C-Section done twice--once for the surgery, and again when it came time for the actual birth. Reinkemeyer was put on a strict order of bed rest to heal as much as possible in the 10 weeks between the surgery and their scheduled “birth” date.
When it came time to actually deliver Jackson, Reinkemeyer did just as well the second time around as during the operation. Both mother and son are now doing just fine, with Jackson expected to lead a normal and healthy life.
And unlike most babies, Jackson will celebrate two “birthdays” thanks to his unconventional entry into the world.
We wish this adorable family the best of luck!