September 21, 2011
Imagine being pregnant and discovering that you have not one but two wombs (or uteri) and each of those wombs contains a baby. Such was the case of Andrea Barbosa of Clearwater, Florida. On September 15th, she delivered a baby boy and girl who had developed in two separate wombs. Thankfully, mother and both children are doing well.
Although twins are fairly common and represent 1 in 32 births, the type of twin pregnancy that Barbosa had occurs only 1 in 5 million chances in a condition called uterine didelphys or a double uterus.
Uterine didelphys falls under the category of Mullerian disorders and occurs in approximately 1 in 2,000 women. It is the result of a failure of the early female reproductive system (aka Mullerian ducts) to fuse between 9 to 11 weeks after fertilization. Mullerian disorders are usually undetected until a woman becomes pregnant, has pelvic pain when they begin to menstruate or has difficulty becoming pregnant. Although Barbosa had 2 separate wombs, some women have one but it is divided by a membrane called a septum. This condition is known as a Septate uterus and is associated with an increased risk of miscarriages. Other forms of Mullerian disorders include a heart-shaped uterus (aka bicornuate) or the absence of a vagina. The cause of these disorders is unknown because affected women have normal female genes. Sometimes problems such as pelvic pain, menstrual problems including delayed period and painful intercourse are the first clues of this disorder. Other women may experience difficulty becoming pregnant, repeated miscarriages or have an ectopic pregnancy.
Mullerian disorders can also affect the outcome of a pregnancy because it is associated with frequent miscarriages in the first and second trimesters, poor growth of the fetus (aka fetal growth restriction), prematurity, or a ruptured uterus. Pregnant women with Mullerian disorders should have at least one consult with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to minimize adverse complications. Barbosa’s successful twin pregnancy and delivery with a double uterus is nothing short of a miracle and keeps the medical community humble. We wish the Barbosa family well.
July 11, 2011
The jury has spoken and Casey Anthony will be released in exactly seven days. Ironically, her release from jail falls on a Sunday, when most people are communing with their Lord. I wonder if that’s an omen.
Orlando is a small town, contrary to its prominent persona of tourist attractions. I should know. I’ve lived here for over 15 years. The Anthony trial was practically in my backyard and the presiding judge attends my church. Despite all of the hoopla, I didn’t pay much attention to the notoriety until the closing arguments of the case. It’s not that I didn’t care it’s just that nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the state of Florida. If it’s lewd, ridiculous, unethical and unfair, look for it to occur in Florida. I’m not going to pass judgment on Casey Anthony because the jury has spoken. But I never expected Anthony to ever see the light of day once the trial was over. But she will and let’s hope that the person who exits the jail is much different from the one who entered. Why? Because Anthony is young, presumably fertile and will probably become pregnant again. As a society, we need to provide her with a lesson in motherhood.
Children are our gifts and we as parents are their custodians, their nurturers and providers. We don’t own our children, they belong to our Creator. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a training manual; our experiences are usually based on trial and error. There is not a woman on this planet that has not experienced some level of anger or frustration either towards her children or her circumstances at some point in her life. Sometimes motherhood is a thankless job whose rewards are not immediately apparent. It involves delayed gratification, commitment, patience, and a profound sense of humor. Our children can be both our greatest source of happiness but also our greatest source of pain. It is a dichotomy, this vocation called motherhood. It is not for the faint of heart or an uncommitted soul. And it certainly isn’t for everyone. Therefore I implore Anthony to please consider all of her options before she ventures down the road of motherhood again. If she doesn’t want to have children, permanent sterilization is an option and if she has another child and decides that children are not part of her infamous tattoo that reads “Bella Vitta” or the good life, then please consider the option of adoption.
Caylee Anthony is dead. Neither a death sentence nor Casey’s freedom will ever resurrect her.
April 14, 2010
There are triumphs in life worth celebrating and Nadia Bloom’s rescue was one of them. Yesterday morning WFTV’s “breaking news” reported that Nadia was found alive by a member of her church. Members of the Metro Church in Oviedo, Florida formed a prayer circle and asked God to lead them to Nadia. They explored an area of the woods that had not previously been searched. Their prayers were miraculously answered. James King found Nadia stuck in the mud in the swamp and called the authorities for help. News spread quickly to Lawton Elementary School where both Nadia and my sons attend. Teachers wept. Students embraced. My community exhaled a sigh of relief.
Nadia’s teachers spoke about her with pride. She aced spelling tests; was passionate about Nature and had the makings of a gifted writer. No one was surprised to learn of her love for the American Girl® Book, Meet Lanie Holland. Perhaps it was lessons learned from the book that allowed her to survive five days and four nights in a perilous Florida swamp near a lake filled with alligators.
In honor of Nadia’s rescue, the school’s PTA threw a party and everyone wore orange because it’s Nadia’s favorite color. For the past four days the PTA conducted a school prayer vigil, made hundreds of meals for search and rescue teams and responded whenever and wherever they were needed. Now, it was time to party. The joy on the school campus was palpable. People bought orange balloons and wore orange clothing in solidarity. Music of celebration blared from speakers. Mothers danced in the street. Strangers smiled at each other. Children played tagged and squealed with delight. Mothers stood in line to hug Nadia’s mother and whispered prayers of praise in her ears.
Today a happy ending was brought to life. Thank you God for the miracle.
April 13, 2010
Please read my commentary of joy and thanksgiving in tomorrow’s blog and thank you all for praying for Nadia. Our prayers have been answered.
April 12, 2010
The recent disappearance of 11-year-old Nadia Bloom has affected me personally. Perhaps it’s because she’s a schoolmate of my children and I’m viewing this tragedy through the eyes of a mother.
The last time my children saw Nadia was right before spring break at the school’s annual “Field Day” picnic where children compete in athletic games. Parents are invited to attend a picnic lunch and everyone celebrates the coming of Spring Break.
Nadia (who has a mild form of autism) was last seen around 3:15 p.n. riding her bicycle in her gated community. Her mother contacted the police when she found Nadia’s bicycle at the end of her street along with a bicycle helmet. There are registered sex offenders who live within 2 miles of Nadia’s subdivision and that gives me great concern. The Department of Justice reports that 2,185 children were reported missing each day and 115 of them were kidnapped, abused, killed or driven greater than 50-miles from their home never to be seen again. I certainly hope that is not Nadia’s fate.
I implore parents to be hyper vigilant regarding the safety of our children. Although Nadia lived in a middle class gated community, the state of Florida is notorious for child abductions with heartbreaking results. The following safety tips bears repeating:
- Your child should know their area code and phone number and be taught not to give it to strangers
- Your child should always use a buddy system if possible. A child alone is an easy target
- Teach your children to ignore lure tactics such as money offered to find a lost dog or other methods used to gain a child’s confidence
- Use a family word code. My children are taught that they are NOT to go with anyone unless that person provides the “secret code.”
- Never put your child’s name on the outside of clothing or backpacks
- Teach your children that it’s okay to yell, kick or scream if they are being abducted by a stranger
- Have honest conversations with your children that there are “bad” people who could harm them and to be on guard
Tomorrow my children will return to a school in crisis. My family will continue to pray for Nadia’s safe return. I hope you’ll do the same.
December 2, 2009
However, what Woods and I DO have in common is our public visibility. As a public health employee, my life is an open book.
A few years ago I had to report a former boss for inappropriate behavior based on several patients’ complaints. The case “blew up” because of his notoriety as both an elected official and a physician and I ended up with the media on my doorstep. The reporter, camera crew and satellite truck remained parked in front of my home for almost three hours, reported the 11:00 o’clock news and then finally left. Although I didn’t speak with them that night, I knew that I would have to do so the next day. “Never say ‘no comment’” was the advice that I had been given from a law enforcement agent who was investigating the case.
When I reported to work, a public information officer suggested that I participate in an elaborate scheme to avoid the media. And when I flatly refused, she told me that “I was on my own.”
The maintenance man and a secretary accompanied me as I walked out the door and faced the paparazzi. It was one of the most difficult days of my life. However, I was polite, non-judgmental and advised them that I was leaving the matter in the hands of the courts. My former boss lost his medical license and was removed from political office by the Governor. He faced criminal charges and the case dragged on for years.
In the court of public opinion Tiger, a lie unchallenged becomes the truth. The media is NOT going to go away.