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Nabiliah´s letter

The plight of parents of who give birth to 2 children with Spina Bifida

For a mother to give birth to a baby with Spina Bifida is extremely shocking and very frightening. Can you just imagine to then fall pregnant again and the next baby is also Spina Bifida. Here are some families who have given birth to 2 children with Spina Bifida. Nabilah tells her own story.


Nabilah was 19yrs old when she gave birth to her first baby, a little girl, and was told the baby had Spina Bifida. The Doctor and nurses explained to her what Spina Bifida is and that her little girl will need lifelong medical care.

2yrs and 2 months later, later Nabilah, now 21yrs old, gave birth to her second baby, another little girl, and she was also Spina Bifida.

Here’s Nabilah’s story written by herself.



It was my first pregnancy and Faheem and I were very excited. All the ultrasound scans were normal. They said it was a girl.

I gave birth at Mowbray Maternity Hospital. Faheem was next to me, so he saw the thing on our daughter’s back. We were very emotional and started crying. We didn’t know what it was. The doctor then said to us that our baby has a defect called Spina Bifida. They rushed her to Red Cross War Memorial Hospital.

The next day I was discharged, and went to Red Cross. The family was all there, they were very emotional because nobody knew what it was. That same day they operated on my daughter’s back, and a week later they inserted a shunt in her head to drain the fluid which accumulates on the brain. 2 weeks later she was discharged, I was exhausted. We attended clinic at Red Cross, first every month, then 3 months, then 6 months. When she was 2years old, her feet was operated because of clubfeet. She started walking but only against things, she can’t walk alone.

When I fell pregnant with my second baby, I was under Groote Schuur because I was high risk. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, the ultrasound scan showed that this baby was also Spina Bifida. Faheem and I was very shocked. We didn’t expect to have another Spina Bifida baby, and then that emotion all over again.

The doctors suggested we terminate the pregnancy, so I agreed. They booked my bed and everything. The day I went in I told the counsellor that I want to keep my baby. The next ultrasound showed it was another girl. I was disappointed because we would have liked a boy. A week before my due date I was booked for a Caesar because she was lying breech.

Like my first baby, she was also rushed to Red Cross and immediately operated on her back. She didn’t need a shunt. We were so relieved.

We now attend Red Cross regularly with both babies. Fahiem works on cars from home and helps me with the children. We receive a state grant for both children but it’s not enough, It’s very hard. Taxi and bus fares from Delft, where we live, to Red Cross is a lot.

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