New parents Christal and Bernard Dreyer were feeling thrilled to hold their healthy newborn son in their arms, but that joy didn’t come easy to them.
The couple from Johannesburg were given advice by their doctor to abort the baby after they diagnosed him with spina bifida. However, the mother delivered a healthy baby boy who recently turned 5-years of age.
Christal Dreyer, and her husband Bernard, both 40, were over the moon when she became pregnant, but when she went for an ultrasound scan at 20 weeks to find out the sex of the baby, they had some chilling news waiting for them.
“My husband and I went in, the lady continued with the scan, she didn’t say much, she confirmed both babies are boys and everything looks good with baby B (Karl). She didn’t say much about baby A,” Christal said.
A medical worker informed her that they had booked an appointment for her to meet a twin fetal specialist because it was really urgent. She said that they arrived home and read the words ‘spina bifida,’ in it and since she didn’t know much about it she decided to google it.
She was devastated by what she read, but her sister who was visiting her at the time told her to move away from the computer and visit the specialist instead. Sadly after a few days when her husband and she met with the specialist, he too confirmed that their son had that condition.
Christal said that they told them that their son wouldn’t live a good quality of life and that he would be wheelchair-bound with minimal brain function. They were also advised to get the tests for the 3 chromosome abnormalities that came with spina bifida- Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Patau syndrome (trisomy 13), and Edward syndrome (trisomy 18).
They were given the advice of terminating the pregnancy by the specialist who went on to describe the whole process which was extremely painful for them to listen to.
The Doctor told them that the process would involve inserting a needle into their baby’s heart, which would kill it with the air that would be injected into his heart. She would then have to carry their dead baby till full term when their other baby B is born, only then would they remove the dead baby out from her body.
It must have been so hard for Christal and Bernard to listen to their doctor’s advice about their baby, but instead of being disheartened by it, these two people of faith decided to lean on God and believe what the word of God said about their child and not what the doctor said.
They went for the chromosomal tests but made an important decision to keep the baby and defied their doctor’s advice. That decision came after they were motivated by a Bible verse that was sent to them by a friend of Christal’s. That verse was Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
It was a calm assurance and a hope that God was giving them that no matter what happened, He was in perfect control of their lives and their futures. This newfound hope helped Christal to carry her baby full term; and after 3 days, the baby, Deon, had his first surgery to take out the MMS sac that was formed on his back due to spina bifida.
Deon again had another surgery to have a VP shunt inserted so that the excess fluid that had built up in his brain could be removed. He was feeling much better by afternoon.
Some years passed by and when Deon was 2 1/2 years old, he had started walking independently post-intensive physiotherapy. “I felt so much joy in those moments,” said Christal, all she wanted at that time was to go back to the doctors and show them how wrong they had been.
Today, Deon is 5-years-old and is thriving, but due to him having had surgery on his back and a VP shunt, he’s not able to play sports. Christal says she has a hard time explaining to Deon why he cannot play games like football. She wants other parents in a similar situation to always be full of hope and not take the doctor’s report about their child’s quality of life so seriously.
Christal and Bernard received support and hope from their Christian friends at a crucial time of their lives and they want everyone to know that there will always be someone to listen to you and help you in whatever challenge you are facing in your lives today.