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Baby beating the odds after undergoing open fetal surgery for spina bifida

Posted at 1:43 PM, Mar 18, 2019

PALM COAST, Fla. – For the Trinkle family, baby boy Parker is a miracle.

Expectant mom Jessica Trinkle received shocking news at a routine OB exam and ultrasound check-up last fall – her baby, Parker, was diagnosed with myelomeningocele (MMC), the most common and most severe form of spina bifida, after a sac was found on his spinal cord.

The disease prevents the backbone from properly forming and can cause disabilities – intellectual or physical.

Trinkle was halfway through her pregnancy with Parker, her second child, when she received the news, according to

After the appointment, she started researching and found that some cases could be repaired through “open fetal surgery.” During the surgical procedure, the mother’s abdomen and uterus are cut open, allowing surgeons to close the opening in the baby’s back before returning him for the rest of the pregnancy.

The clock was ticking for Trinkle and her husband, Spenser, to make a decision.

Days later, they met with their specialist who mentioned open fetal surgery.

It was a no-brainer for the couple.

“The neurosurgeon brought up fetal surgery and my first words were, yes, that’s what I need to do. Let’s do it,” Jessica said.

Leading up to the big day, the couple spent time preparing for the hospital stay and spending time with their three-year-old daughter.

“Two nights before the surgery was the last night I was going to be able to snuggle and watch a movie with my daughter, just like any other evening,” Jessica said. “She fell asleep in my bed while I silently sobbed. I wasn’t ready to leave her for that long and I wasn’t ready to not give her my all.”

Just nine days later, at 25 weeks gestation, Jessica underwent open fetal surgery. More than 13 doctors and nurses were involved.

It was a success.

Thanks to the surgery and support from family and friends, Jessica was able to carry Parker to 37 weeks with zero complications.

On February 6, he was delivered by C-section at an Orlando hospital and weighed 5 lb., 5 oz.

Photos of the now family of four were captured by EBU Photography earlier this month.

According to, “in the 70 years that Winnie Palmer hospital has had a NICU, he was the first fetal spina bifida patient who didn’t need any NICU time.”

“Today little man is 1 month and in that month our world has changed. Although at times that change has been overwhelming, I can honestly say he has made this family stronger than I ever knew possible,” the couple wrote on their Facebook page, Positively Parker. “Of course I wish I could say my son was perfectly healthy and didn’t have ‘special needs,’ yet at the same time, I’ve come to realize: he is just that special.”

The Trinkles said the birth of Parker has been  nothing short of a miracle.

“Being parents to a miracle is knowing that every day is a blessing & gift; it means cherishing every moment, every breath with such intensity that you feel tears come to your eyes for no apparent reason,” they wrote.