Disabled Baby Will Walk, Talk After Parents Rejected Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 30, 2013   |   7:25PM   |   Boston, MA

The Boston Globe has a report on an amazing story of a couple who rejected an abortion of their very disabled baby and are glad they did so.

“Dominic Pio Gundrum was born with a rare disorder in which part of his brain was exposed,” the newspaper reports. Despite suggestions to have an abortion, the parents chose not to and, following surgeries, doctors now say he will walk and talk.

Mary Gundrum, 20 weeks pregnant, was excited when an ultrasound revealed that she was going to have a baby boy. Then she looked closer and said, “What’s that in front of his face?”

“That,” the doctor replied somberly, “is a problem.”

The news was grim. The fetus had an encephalocele, a rare disorder in which part of the brain was exposed, covered in skin, outside the head. In this case, the brain was growing down into the roof of the mouth and protruding onto the face.

If Gundrum decided to continue the pregnancy, she and her husband, Mark, were told, the baby might not make it to birth. Or he might be born, but die a few hours later. Or he might be severely disabled.

Though Gundrum’s pregnancy posed an extraordinary challenge, the painful decision of whether to continue a pregnancy when things go terribly wrong is one many couples face as prenatal tests become so routine and so accurate. For any parent, it is a moment of dread and anguish.

The Gundrums, devout Catholics and the parents of seven other children, decided to continue the uncertain pregnancy. The decision would take them from their home outside Milwaukee to Boston, where a family they had never met opened its doors and hearts to them, and where a top-notch medical team at Boston Children’s Hospital performed groundbreaking surgery to help their baby.

It was a journey that led them from despair to hope, one that would test them and require deep contemplation.

“We did a lot of soul-searching,” said Mary Gundrum, who is 40. “I was thinking, ‘That’s my child. It’s that simple. I’m not going to take the life of my child.’ ”



Read the remainder of the story here.