The journey to becoming parents did not start as an easy one for my husband and I. We suffered the heartache of miscarriage and the unimaginable pain of burying our first born child. Our son, sweet 1 lb 1.4 ounce, 12 inches long, teeny, tiny little Joseph “Hamilton” Jones was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and a heart defect. It tore our hearts out leaving the hospital without him, knowing our dreams and hope for the future were shattered. The next time that we would see him would be at a funeral home filled with people who had lived their lives for decades… his life was only a short 2 hours and 40 minutes. My husband and I were left choosing a small white casket, not much larger than the size of a shoebox for him to be buried in.
After things began to settle down, in the fall of 2007, the sweetest nurse visited us in our home. Her name was Jane, and she was with the Greenwood Genetic Center located in the upstate of South Carolina. She had traveled over 4 hours to visit us! She was that day, and still is, passionately committed to providing heartfelt and compassionate care to families affected by genetic disorders. A part of Greenwood Genetic Center’s mission is researching the causes of these disorders, supporting the families that are affected by them, and discovering ways to prevent them from occurring as frequently. The hope is ultimately preventing genetic defects from occurring at all.
The information that was gathered from the research is complex, but the methods in preventing neural tube defects from occurring are simple ... Folic Acid. A small pill, a multivitamin, ONLY 400 mcg, that is taken once daily! I began taking the multivitamin after our loss, and also began eating foods that were rich in folate (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, eggs, cereal etc.)
In 2014, seven years after the devastating loss of our son and meeting Nurse Jane Dean, we welcomed our beautiful daughter Brynleigh. She was born as healthy as can be, weighing 7lbs 9 ounces. About a year and a half later, our son Preston was born, also a super healthy little guy, weighing 9lbs 1 ounce! And a year and a half later after Preston's birth, we welcomed another baby girl, Ellieana, weighing 7 lbs 11 ounces. Today, we have a healthy 3.5 year old, 2 year old, and 9 month old. These sweet, precious miracles are a gift from God.
We are thankful for the research of the Greenwood Genetic Center and the efforts spent towards supporting the families affected by genetic defects and preventing them from occurring in the future. We will be forever grateful for the services that they provide to our community and the compassionate family that we gained in them after such a life shattering loss.
Chris and Alicia Jones. Aynor,SC