His parents were offered the option of abortion for this little deformity, but they refused.
One of the joys, and trepidations, of being pregnant is going to see how our tiny baby is developing. As the doctor takes all the measurements, we wait with a hopeful yet anxious smile, while trying to discern the various body parts, for the doctor to reassure us that the baby is perfectly healthy. For all the news of perfectly healthy babies, there are many parents who don’t get this reassurance — and, for various health and physical reasons, some are advised to end the life of their baby.
This was the case for Sara Keller, who discovered during her son’s 24-week ultrasound that he had bilateral cleft lip and palate — when tissues in the mouth fail to develop, or fuse together properly. Although this condition can cause issues with breathing, eating, and speaking, it can be corrected with surgical procedures.
Shockingly, doctors offered Keller and her partner, Chris Eidam from Nebraska, the option of abortion. Yet the couple were adamant that a little deformity would not stop them from loving their baby. As Keller shared with Today: “It is okay to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances.”
“We wanted to change what ultrasound/newborn/first year pictures on our Facebook/Instagram accounts looked like. We wanted to spread awareness of cleft lips and palates,” explained Keller in an email to Today. In response they received overwhelming support, with the occasional insensitive question such as: “What’s wrong with his face?”
However, Keller used the opportunity to teach others about Brody’s condition. And that is what she envisions for her little boy in the future: that he can be a spokesman for those who might not get the opportunity to speak out. According to the CDC, an estimated 7,090 babies with cleft-related defects are born every year in the US.
Fortunately for young Brody, a lot of people look beyond physical appearances. On a visit to a restaurant with her friends and Brody, Keller was stunned when a waiter brought over to her a piece of paper with the words “for the beautiful baby” written on it, along with a check for $1,000.
The couple used the money toward Brody’s lip surgery, and although he’ll require further procedures, he’s a very happy little boy.
“We’ve been contacted by people all over the country. They are praying for us and asking us to reach out if we need anything,” Keller shared with Heart Eternal. “This experience has shown us just how strong the cleft community is.”