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For Claudine and David Fitzgibbon, Baby Harvey is a sign of all that is good in the world – their little baby boy of hope – made possible, in part, by Dr Glenn Gardener and his team at Mater Mothers’ Hospital Brisbane.
This is the family’s fourth baby. And their third baby diagnosed with spina bifida.
Almost four years ago the Fitzgibbons were blessed with beautiful Eliza, and then two subsequent pregnancies, baby Sophie in 2014 and baby Willow, the following year. Devastatingly, both Sophie and Willow were diagnosed with spina bifida at their 20 week scans.
Spina bifida is a condition where the lower part of a baby’s spine is open and it affects 1 in every 2000 pregnancies in Australia. The effects of spina bifida on a child are significant and can include inability to walk and the need to drain fluid from the brain.
Dave said the diagnosis was overwhelming. “It was really terrible because we felt like we didn’t have any time and we didn’t know anything about spina bifida. The information we were given was very negative… so we had visions of their life which may have been very different to their actual condition,” said Dave.
To read the full story please visit the Mater Mothers’ Hospital news story here.
During their time at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane, Claudine and Dave built a strong friendship with Sister Angela Mary of the Sisters of Mercy. For more than half a century, Sr. Angela Mary has championed better healthcare for Mater patients and their families. A special fund—the Sister Angela Mary Fund—has been set up in her honour to ensure her legacy, in providing exceptional care for mothers and babies, continues for generations to come.
To donate to the Sr. Angela Mary Fund, give here.
Image credit: Australian Story & Megan Mackander