Queen Anne’s county resident undergoes rare, experimental procedure to save her unborn baby

"I was 22 weeks pregnant when we found out," said mom to be Amanda Jopp.

Jopp was going in for a regular check-up on her baby's progression to make sure he was in good health but what was supposed to be a regular day for Jopp, turned into a nightmare.

"They saw spots on his back so they were just going to send me to a specialist to just kind of check it out," said Jopp.

Two weeks later, Jopp was told that her unborn baby had spina bifida.

"Hurt, just surprised I guess we were taken a back. It took us a little bit to just kind of cope with it and try to figure out the next steps we needed to take," said Jopp.

Early on, Jopp was told to terminate the pregnancy because the complications of giving birth to a child with spina bifida were far too great. But that was a decision Jopp couldn't make.

"It was kind of like a motherly instinct where I was just like something… I just needed something else like something's missing," said Jopp.

That's when Jopp was pointed in the direction of Johns Hopkins, where she was given the option to undergo a rare experimental procedure to repair her unborn baby's spina bifida. 

"With every week that passes there's progressive damage to potential never function," said Center for Fetal Therapy Director Ahmet Baschat, M.D.

The procedure which was performed on Jopp who was just shy of 25 weeks allowed doctors to operate on Amanda's unborn baby while inside her womb, which health officials say is virtually unheard of even in medical circles.

"It was pretty much a decision I think in my head where I was just like it would definitely be beneficial and it has been," said Jopp.

The procedure was a success, and now with weekly check-ups Jopp is hoping for a smooth delivery, and wants expectant mothers everywhere to know that they should never give up hope. 

Jopp is expected to deliver her baby next Monday, And her doctors say that her baby will be monitored closely after his birth to make sure he continues to be in good health.


Categories: Local News, Maryland