DECEMBER 20, 1999

We started putting this page together the night of December 20, after watching the heart of our then 7 1/2 weeks unborn baby. We didn't know if we were expecting either a boy or a girl. We were just so excited that we were "expecting!" We wanted to share the first picture of our baby with our relatives and friends, so we decided to create a web page.

Many things occurred since we put this page together back in December. As time went on, we got some very good news as well as some other more challenging news. The good news are that we are expecting a beautiful baby girl and we have named her Angeline Marie. So, from now on we can all refer to her by name rather than as "the baby." The more challenging news are that the doctors tell us that Angeline Marie seems to have spina bifida, a neural tube birth defect.

Years ago there was little you could do to help children like Angeline until they were born. But now there is a new procedure where doctors operate inside the uterus by opening the womb, repair the spina bifida lesion on the baby's back, and then return her back to the womb to continue her normal development. Less than a hundred of this operations have taken place in the whole world, and eighty-three of them have occurred at Vanderbilt Medical Center, TN at the hands of Dr. Joseph Bruner and Dr. Noel Tulipan. After we learned of Angeline's diagnosis on the late afternoon of February 25, Dr. Jaime Rodriguez, the most caring perinatologist you can find west of the third spiral arm of the Milky Way, arranged for us to meet Dr. Bruner at Vanderbilt University the following Thursday morning. We ended up flying to Vanderbilt the following week and meeting with Dr. Bruner to discuss our options.