A Second Medical Opinion Saves a Baby's Life
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Terminating pregnancy due to insurmountable complications can be devastating for any parent, but imagine being advised to do it twice. This is the story of Jessica Felder.
In late 2017, Jessica was pregnant with her son, Roman. At 14 weeks, doctors had diagnosed Roman with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain. After receiving the diagnosis, she was advised to terminate the pregnancy due to a high probability that Roman would suffer from severe developmental and physical delays. While the news was heartbreaking, it wasn't a first for Jessica.
In 2016, she was pregnant with a baby girl who was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Her condition was more advanced than Roman's and Jessica decided to terminate the pregnancy. After receiving similar news about Roman, those same feelings came rushing back—this was one of her worst fears. While this condition was considered an anomaly, Jessica refused to accept the doctor's prognosis and sought a second opinion. Her primary care physician referred her to Dr. Kerry Lewis at UM Prince George's Hospital Center, who personally called Jessica to let her know she was in good hands.
Dr. Lewis provided a different outlook than other physicians and gave hope as he explained, "There are children who survive with hydrocephalus and Roman could potentially go on to live a long and healthy life."
By the third trimester, Jessica was seeing Dr. Lewis once per week. She was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which affected her pregnancy; however, Jessica didn't let the news dampen her spirit but instead, used it as motivation to live a healthier life.
Throughout the third trimester, Roman's head size continued to increase and it was eventually recommended that she deliver early. While Jessica was nervous about the delivery, Dr. Lewis was very aware and present and helped her understand what to expect during the delivery.
"Overall, Dr. Lewis was amazing," said Jessica. "While he has many other responsibilities, he made me feel like I was his only patient, providing both professional and emotional support."
Jessica delivered Roman on March 21, 2018, at 37 weeks. "While Roman has a rather large head, he doesn't let this stop him and maintains the functions of any normal child," said Jessica.
Jessica's Message to Other Pregnant Women
If it doesn't feel right, go with your instinct. It's your pregnancy, your baby, and your future. Find a physician whom you can trust and with whom you're comfortable.