Aida Zabidi
It’s been almost a month since I’ve been working in neonatal intensive care, a process that I admit – I found a little daunting. Although I’ve slowly found my feet, the workload and the close monitoring we do still is a whole different kind of stress. 

You can’t help getting attached to some of these little creatures, because our premature babies stay in the ward for months while waiting to put on weight. There’s nothing quite like the joy you get a month later to see a previously premature 28 week baby who only weighs 800g and was previously nursed in an incubator graduate to a cot, having doubled their weight, and is now fat and not so fragile. 

However, there are always those very daunting moments – and I have the misfortune to have one of those bleeding hearts. 

One of my babies passed away this week. She was a perfectly normal pregnancy – except three days before delivery, the obstetrics team detected the lack of a skull. 

The process is called anencephaly. Seeing it for the first time was daunting. 

My specialist asked me to take a photo, so that we could discuss the case at a meeting that we were going to have, but I am not going to share it here. It is a daunting photograph in itself. There’s something strange to see how the baby was so perfectly formed, except you could see the brain protruding from the top of the head, like a process from a horror movie. 

For me, it was personally a rather harrowing experience. I’m not certain how I would have counseled the parents, and I was thankful that I didn’t have to be the one who needed to do so. This is even more personal to me because I think my mother had a miscarriage, where the fetus had anencephaly. 

While the cause is not known, the intake of folic acid reduces the incidence of anencephaly and other neural tube defects – so women of child bearing age are recommended to make sure they take sufficient amounts of folic acid. 

My heart can only go out to those parents who have to undergo such an ordeal. 

 Life truly is so fragile.
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