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Giving birth

This baby was born twice—yep, you read that correctly

And yes, his mom says they'll be celebrating both birthdays.

This baby was born twice—yep, you read that correctly

Photo: iStockphoto

Being born is typically a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, but not for baby Jackson.

After her 19-week ultrasound, Joni Reinkemeyer found out that Jackson, her then unborn baby, had developed spina bifida, a birth defect where the spinal cord doesn't develop properly, leading to a gap in the baby's spine. Reinkemeyer told The Sun that her doctor suggested an operation to close the gap, which would be her best bet at helping him have an easier life. But it would also mean that her baby would be born twice! Yep, you read that correctly. Let us explain.

The operation is pretty uncommon, as it involves "delivering" the baby, operating on it, and then returning it to the womb to complete the rest of the pregnancy—hence being "born twice." According to Reinkemeyer's doctor, Dr. Michale Bebbington, this kind of surgery has only been done "a few hundred times worldwide," and only "about one in five of those who are referred for evaluation will be eligible and willing to undergo surgery." Luckily for baby Jackson, he was a candidate and his mom was willing to take the risk with surgery.

The operation was in October of 2017, at the end of Reinkemeyer's second trimester, when doctors thought he'd be big enough to survive the surgery. Because it was the first time this kind of surgery was happening at this hospital, all hands were on deck with 32 people in the operating room. According to Reinkemeyer, the staff had duplicates of each role, including two neurosurgeons and the whole NICU team, to ensure that the procedure went as smoothly as possible.

Thankfully, the surgery was successful, and after about 10 weeks, Jackson was brought back into the world via C-section—or belly birth, as some moms are calling it nowadays. During the time between the two births, Reinkemeyer and her husband moved into an apartment close to the hospital where she was on complete bed rest. One of her biggest concerns was rupturing her uterus since she essentially had a C-section scar, but her baby was still inside of her—weird, right?

We're happy to report that Jackson is doing well after being born (again) earlier this year. A lot of people ask Reinkemeyer if they'll be celebrating both birthdays and she figures, why not? "Seeing that he was born twice, I think we can allow him two cakes." So enjoy those cakes, little Jackson. You've earned it!

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Kevin is an associate editor for Canadian Business in Toronto, Ontario. More of their work can be found in MSN Canada, Chatelaine and This Magazine

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