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Giving Baby a Chance, Before Birth

Surgery in the Womb?

'I don't have to wonder, what if?'

When Kelly Hasten found her baby had spina bifida, she considered "for a split second" another option -- abortion. But when she heard about fetal surgery, she decided that was the choice for her, despite the risks.

Two weeks after her surgery on Jan. 10, those risks became real when doctors discovered that amniotic fluid had leaked out of her uterus, possibly from the surgical incision. She has since been confined to hospital bed rest to await her delivery. That means she can see her husband and 7-year-old daughter only on weekends, since they live 90 minutes away.

"I'm about to go crazy," she said from her hospital bed, where she spends a lot of time researching spina bifida on a computer.

Nonetheless, Hasten says she's glad she went through with the operation: "I don't have to wonder, 'what if?'" she says.

Kathy Bunch is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.

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