SSpina Bifida is a type of birth defect that affects the brain and the spinal cord.  It happens when the spine and the vertebrae are being formed, and it does not close completely.  This happens at about the time that the fetus is one month old.  It can damage the nerves and the spinal cord.  At the first ultra sound that is done, it may be picked up, but there is a possibility that it will not be found until the baby is born.  The current data shows that there are approximately eight babies a day born with spina bifida or a similar defect of the brain and spine.  It is considered the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.

The exact cause of spina bifida is unknown, but it does seem to run in families.  Doctors prescribe folic acid before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of the baby being born with the defect.  The effects are varied.  Most have normal intelligence.  Some require assistive devices:  Braces, crutches, or wheelchairs.  There is a risk of learning difficulties, urinary and bowel problems, or hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain.)

There are three types of spina bifida with different stages of severity.

1.  Spina Bifida Occulta:  Is the mildest and most common form with a small gap in the spine without an opening or a sac on the back.  The spinal cord and nerves remain undamaged.  It may not be found unless there is another reason for the child or adult to have an X-Ray.  There are usually no symptoms or disabilities.

2.  Meningocele:  Is a sac of fluid that comes through an opening in the baby’s back.  The spinal cord is not in the sac and there is usually little or no damage.  Those with this type of spina bifida may have minor disabilities.  It is usually not necessary for surgery with this type.

3.  Myelomeningocele:  This type is what most people are talking about when they refer to spina bifida.  It is the most severe type with a sac of fluid coming through an opening in the baby’s back with part of the spinal cord and nerves that causes damage. A surgery will take place within one to three days after birth to reduce the risk of infection or other disabilities.  Sometimes this surgery may be done before the birth.  70 to 90% of these children have too much fluid on their brains and causes pressure and swelling. This may cause brain damage.  Their disabilities are from moderate to severe.  This child will require lifelong treatment and assistance with specialty care.


Disclaimer: The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information should consult with a qualified healthcare professional.


















To the Momma of a Critically and Chronically Ill Child – Scribbles & Crumbs

I found this post at scribble and crumbs.  She wrote these amazing words that have been penned on my broken heart for years.  I so admire her strength and lovely soul that has brought these words on paper and brought me magically to another time.  It was a time that I was that woman waiting for hours in an Emergency Room, passing my sweet boy to a surgeon and praying, and crying on the way to the hospital one more time after forty-eight hours of no sleep.  She has put all of it on paper so eloquently.  Have a tissue ready.

To the Momma of a Critically and Chronically Ill Child – Scribbles & Crumbs.




Reye’s Syndrome (RS) was first reported on in 1963 by R. Douglas ‘s, an Australian pathologist.  There seems to be a link between the use of aspirin (salicylate) or other aspirin containing products either during a viral disease or toward the end of the disease.  The two most common are the flu (Influenza) or the Chicken Pox. Reye’s Syndrome is usually found in children from 4 to 14 years old, although it can strike anyone from infancy to adulthood.

The number of cases of RS has continually decreased since the link between viruses and aspirin products was first made and doctors began emphasizing the importance of not using aspirin when a child is experiencing a viral illness.  The flu and chicken pox tend to occur in the winter months.  The campaign to wipe out Reye’s Syndrome completely, continues through educating the parents not to mix children with aspirin.

Reye’s Syndrome can start from day 1 to 2 weeks after the viral infection.  The symptoms may be mild, even not recognized, but it also can be severe and require aggressive action.  The viral infection that led to Reye’s Syndrome is contagious but the Syndrome itself is not.  Early treatment increases the chances of a successful recovery.

The symptoms are usually frequent vomiting, sleepiness or tiredness, and mental-status changes.  Babies may have diarrhea, irritability and rapid breathing.  Other symptoms may include:  A change in vision, difficulty hearing, and abnormal speech.  The child may seem confused or have severe muscle weakness, seizures, and loss of consciousness.  The child will probably not have a fever.

When the lab work is done the tests will show elevated liver enzymes (without jaundice) and ammonia level, and low serum glucose levels.  The toxins cause increased pressure in the brain with swelling that leads to brain dysfunction and could possibly lead to death.  Reyes is often mistaken for a number of other diseases such as:  Meningitis, Encephalitis, Diabetes, Drug Overdose, Sudden Infant Death, Toxic Ingestion, Head Trauma, Head Trauma, Renal or Hepatic Failure, or poisoning.  It is vital that the parent to encourage the doctor to look twice and consider Reye’s Syndrome.

There is no cure for Reye’s Syndrome.  The treatment is generally supportive.








Disclaimer: The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information should consult with a qualified healthcare professional.