Watch a video capturing highlights from the 2022 Fetal Family Reunion at the Philadelphia Zoo.
2022 Fetal Family Reunion: The Zoo Edition
Susan S. Spinner, MSN, RN: Welcome to the 26th Annual Fetal Family Reunion at the Philadelphia Zoo. Yay!
We have a record number of families here today. Over 3000 people from 20 states.
N. Scott Adzick, MD, MMM: We all share an indescribable bond. The event provides a chance to celebrate your child's breakthroughs and reflect on how far each child has come
Julie S. Moldenhauer, MD: Since the beginning of the pandemic. Our team has evaluated 2,850 pregnancies, we've performed 283 fetal interventions and 1051 babies have been born on the SDU. Thank you to this incredible team, thank you to our incredible patients and families, thank you for letting us be a part of your journey and your life story.
Mom 1: We met and it was like we had known each other forever
Mom 2: And now our girls are best friends and the reason that we are up here speaking to you right now is we wanna encourage you to take this opportunity to get to know your family and get to know each other because it is invaluable to have a friend that truly understands what you're going through, what your kids are going through, and I really hope that you guys will take advantage of that. And even today, it's not too late to meet your new best friend.
Mom 3: It feels magical. It's really awesome to be back here. Our son is our little miracle baby, so it's just awesome to reconnect with the doctors and just still have a community.
Mom 4: We come every year. We're just happy that we're able to come to the zoo now. He was excited about that when he's seen the fetal funeral reunion posted, it was at the zoo. So he was excited about that.
Mom 5: We stayed at Ronald McDonald House with five other families that also had fetal surgery, and so that was a really special time to be not alone in such a difficult season.
And so all of those families, we usually all come to the reunion together. To them, it's never been about spina bifida -- this is my friend, he's in a wheelchair, she's in braces, and we all get to connect and see each other.
Kian: We're really best friends and we haven't seen each other in a long time.
Luelle: How about two weeks? Two weeks?
Kian: About two weeks. Two weeks. Well, not two weeks. Two years.
Luelle: How about two gazillion days?
Kian: And it's just so exciting to see each other, connect again.
Shaterra: Yeah, I'm a first time mom, so when they told me this, I'm like, he's not gonna walk, he's not gonna talk, he's not gonna do any of these things. But if it wasn't for ensuring me that, he'll be okay, and now he's, he does have cerebral palsy. So now like he wasn't supposed to be walking, crawling. He is doing everything he's supposed to.
Katie: We just met a patient -- 21 years old. He's, I think he was one of the first ones here, and that was amazing to talk to him and his mom about how they're doing. And it just, for us, with little ones, it kind of gives us, you know, like something to look forward to, cuz that's always, I wonder like, what, what happens as they get older?
Mom 4: I was always very impressed with how they made us feel, like, like a part of the family where they, they didn't just look at us as patients and diagnosis, but very much helped us see each other and them as they cared for our kids, like they think they would their own.
Shaterra: I remember going back into the operating room and I was so terrified, and as I'm sitting there and the guy taking him back and he goes, "This is our baby now. He is gonna be a okay. He's gonna be fine." Four hours later they came and got me. I am forever grateful.
Jessica: We were told we were gonna have to get rid of that pregnancy and I got a thriving, overly intelligent three-year old out of it.
I got my whole world because of her. And we had another kid that we probably wouldn't have had if you had to get rid of the first one. So this whole family is cuz of this place.
Related Centers and Programs: Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit