My Son Reaches Milestone After Receiving Successful Fetal Surgery For Spina Bifida


As we celebrate Kellen’s first birthday, I cannot help but reflect on the past year. While all parents are excited about this milestone, my husband, Justin, and I are especially grateful to have a first birthday to celebrate.

I remember the excitement leading up to our 19-week sonogram, the day we would find out the sex of our third child. After having two children, we knew the drill, which is why we noticed that something was wrong when the technician took longer than usual to relay the news that it was a boy. That was the day that our unborn child was diagnosed with a developmental defect, called spina bifida. When we heard the news, we were shocked. We had two healthy toddlers at home; it did not seem real.

But it was real, and we knew that we had no time to waste in choosing an option that would give our son the best possible chance. After we received the official diagnosis, we were faced with the option of either going along with the standard post-natal surgery, or taking a risk and undergoing a new in utero surgery that had only been performed a few times in Texas. After countless hours of research, we packed our bags and headed from our home in Dallas to the Fetal Center at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

On December 16, 2011 Kellen and I underwent a cutting edge in utero surgery that we hoped would change our son’s life. On February 28, Kellen was finally born.

Texas Children’s was more than just a sterile, white hospital. It was our home for months. Angel, one of the nurse coordinators at the Fetal Center, was the first person we spoke to when we arrived, and I immediately knew that she would make everything OK. We were blessed with doctors like Dr. Darrell Cass, who fully explained each step of the process, all while making us laugh and calming our nerves. They helped us realize that having a child with disabilities is not the end of the world, nor is there any reason to feel like all is lost.
A year later, as we put on our paper party hats, I cannot help but smile at the small things, like hearing my daughter Kylie sing, and laughing at my son Brink’s obsession with his baby brother. Every time I see Kellen crawling all over our home or think about all the obstacles he has overcome, I feel so blessed. As of today, Kellen does not have a lot of the complications other children with spina bifida face, and is starting physical therapy next month.

He is truly my miracle baby.

Our story is remarkable, and is a story that I hope will provide the same hope for others faced with the diagnosis of spina bifida as the hope that Texas Children’s Hospital gave my family.

You can learn about Texas Children’s Fetal Center, here.

About Clare Davis, Patient and Mother of Patient

I am the happy mother of three wonderful children.

My third son, Kellen, was diagnosed with spina bifida before he was born and underwent successful treatment and surgery at Texas Children's Fetal Center.

Posted in Fetal Center, Guest Post, Pavilion for Women, Surgery

2 Responses to My Son Reaches Milestone After Receiving Successful Fetal Surgery For Spina Bifida

  1. Lynne Hagan says:

    Hi Clare! I have literally been searching for your family since you and Kellen appeared on The Doctors. I was born with spina bifida and hydtrocephalus in 1948 and I hope my story will encourage you. Kellen can do anything he sets his mind and heart on and I am positive he will make a huge impact on his world! The sky is the limit for him. My surgery was performed a few houirs after my birth at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. My hydrocephalus simply stopped at about 6 months of age. (I was born several years before the shunt was invented.) Before age 2 I learned to walk with crutches and braces similar to Kellens! Today I alternate between crutches and wheelchair. I attended public school, college, and earned a Master’s degree in Education. I work in Student Disability Services at a local university and love helping others with their disability challenges. I have been married 45 years to a man who sees me not my disability, and we have two able bodied children who are married. My eldest has an able bodied son! I was THRILLED to see your story and have often thought of you and your entire family since then. I have prayed for you all often that God continue doing miraculous things in your lives. Your able bodied children will learn from Kellen and together they will make our world a more wonderful place. I am smiling broadly remembering the day I first saw your story and how it changed my life for the better, knowing that Kellen was doing so well and would eventually walk!! I hope you are all well and happy and that someday you might want to contact me if there is any way I can be of encouragement or help. Best wishes to you and your husband and all your children. Sincerely, Lynne Hagan (

    • Sofia Vazquz says:

      My 1st pregnancy was the scariest and the best blessing I have ever had. The prenatal testing came back with possible abnormalities of Spina Bifida and down syndrome. I was shocked and spent many days & nights crying and praying. We later went to a specialist in Texas and there we had the Dr. tell us after he measured our baby’s neck, arms, legs and torso that he was almost positive our child was not going to be born with any abnormalities. He was right. our son was born amazingly strong and healthy. He is now 9 and is a star player in his football team. He literally tackles like a college player and has really good grades in school too!
      For us, we Thank God every day our son was born healthy but if he wasn’t we know God would still find a way to make him shine. God bless you all for believing there is a better way and for believing outside of limitations.

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