Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Normal..

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".
Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.
Normal is making sure that others remember her.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent, spouse, family member or friend is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.
Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.
Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.
Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.
Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.
And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "Normal"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy & Infant loss day

<3 May peace fill your hearts today as we gather worldwide to remember all babies gone too soon. <3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Breaking the silence..

Our baby died. She has a name. Her name is Cali Lindy Groover. She was a much wanted daughter, granddaughter, and niece. She was born on May 9th, 2011. Unfortunately, she was one of many babies that died that day. She died from stillbirth due to Anencephaly. 1 in 4 woman will have a miscarriage, stillbirth or some type of infant loss... October is baby loss awareness month. ♥

Please remember all the babies gone too soon this October!!

October is a month to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blogging Challenge for Mothers of Loss

1: Who are you? Caitlin Groover.. Wife to Chris Groover.. & Mommy to Cali Groover.

2: Tell us about your child(ren).- Cali Lindy Groover, our beautiful angel.. Born May 9th, 2011 at 10:08pm. Born with a life taking  NTD, Anencephaly.

3: Through your grief process who has been your "rock". - Definitely my amazing husband! I could not have asked for someone better to take care of me and help me through all my hard times.

4: Through your grief process what has kept you going? Pictures. I am constantly looking at pictures of my little Cali girl.

5: Do you ever get subtle reminds of your angel(s)? If so what what are they? Everything reminds me of her! She is always on my mind :)

6: How do you answer the question of how many children you have? 1 beautiful angel up in heaven. She will always be my first born! I will treat her as I would treat any of my future children.

7: Do you do something to honor your angel(s)? If so what? I am always doing special things for her. My favorite is our memorial tree we planted in our back yard in honor of her.

8: Do you feel you have more good days than bad ones? Lately, more bad. :(

9: If you have other children how has your loss affected them? If you don't other children how has your loss affected your relationship with your partner?- Our loss has made me & Chris closer in so many ways. We created something so completely beautiful & we are thankful for that everyday.

10: If you have Rainbows or older children do they know and remember your angel(s)? No rainbows yet. Praying hard for one though :)

11: It is said that Father's and Mother's grieve differently. Do you feel this is true with your angel's father? - Very true! I'm always a complete mess, & Chris can keep his cool better than I can. I know he feels the pain just as much as I do, but he shows it in different ways.

12: How has the rest of your family dealt with your loss? - Every family member deals with it differently. I am grateful to have all of their support and for them all to recognize Cali as a person.

13: Does anyone else besides you speak your child's name? Yes, lots of people do! It makes me feel good hearing people talk about her.

14: What have you done to preserve your child's memories or make new memories of your angel.- Cali's grave site has become very special to me. I spend alot of time there.

15: Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Day. What will you be doing? - I plan on walking in the Moms Wholehearted: 1st Annual Angel Walk!! Can't wait!

16: Do you take time for yourself? I have lots of time.. maybe not exactly for myself, but I try.

17: Do you feel your child is watching over you? I feel her around me constantly.

18: Have you found something that puts you at peace? Talking about her definitely gives me some peace.

19: What is your happiest memory of your child(ren)? Holding her in my arms for that very wonderful 5 hours!

20: If you have anger.....What are you most angry about? - I still always think the "Why me??". Me & Chris just don't understand why this had to happen to us. We did everything right in my pregnancy, and we had so much love to give a child.. It just doesn't make sense.

21: Is there something about your child(ren) that brings a smile to your face?
Her name.. I am so in love with it.
22: Do you have a song or songs that make you think of your child(ren)
I have many! My Light by Sully Erna is what me & Chris got tattooed on our sides in honor of her.

23: Besides changing the outcome, what is one thing you would have done differently?
I would have done so many things differently, but I am not going to live in regret everyday of the things I did not do.

24: On Birthday's, Diagnosis Day's, Anniversaries of Passing. Do you prepare for them?
I still have yet to go through alot of these. I will see when the time comes.

25: On Birthday's, Diagnosis Day's, Anniversaries of Passing. How do you handle them?
Still have yet to find out.

26: On a scale of 1 to 10 rate your day today and why?
probably a 4. Very average. I'm not too down but I'm not happy either.

27: Share a picture.
Us loving on our girl <3

28: Have you ever corrected or wish you corrected someone about your loss? Yes, unfortunately people have been very wrong about Cali's diagnoses.. It saddens me people have to gossip about a child that isn't even here on earth. How low can people get?

29: What are your beliefs as far as where you think your child(ren) is/are. Will you see each other again? She is with God.. In heaven! I can't wait until the day I can have her in my arms again!

30: How are your preparing for the end of the year? (ie: Holiday's and starting a new year)
Trying for another Groover baby!  Hoping that will give us some kind of Hope & Happiness to help with the horrible pain we have everyday. We need something to actually look forward to.

31: Do you feel like 31 questions has helped you open up more about your child(ren)?- Yes very much so!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My cute pumpkin..

A little pumpkin for my cute pumpkin!

You are forever apart of me sweet baby girl <3

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Our Sweet Angel"

Cali's new stone ♥ That's her actual footprint

Mommy loves her Cali girl so much! xoxo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So thankful!

Cali's name written in the Californian sand <3
Thank you Tristin! I couldn't ask for a better friend and support through all the hard times. xoxo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just another post about Folic Acid :)

Folic acid

  • Folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects.
  • Folic acid works if taken before and during early pregnancy.
  • Take a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid.

Folic acid keeps you and your baby healthy

Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord called neural tube defects (NTDs). Folic acid works to prevent these birth defects only if taken before conception and during early pregnancy. Folate is the natural form of folic acid that is found in certain foods.
Because NTDs originate in the first month of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, it is important for a woman to have enough folic acid in her system before conception. Folic acid is recommended for all women of childbearing age because about half of all pregnancies in this country are unplanned (1). However, too many women aren't getting the recommended daily amount of folic acid.
Why should women of childbearing age take folic acid?
Studies show that if all women consumed the recommended amount of folic acid before and during early pregnancy, up to 70 percent of all NTDs could be prevented (1, 2).
The neural tube is the embryonic structure that develops into the brain and spinal cord. This structure, which starts out as a tiny ribbon of tissue, normally folds inward to form a tube by the 28th day after conception.
When this process goes wrong and the neural tube does not close completely, defects in the brain and spinal cord can result. An estimated 3,000 pregnancies in the United States are affected by NTDs each year (1, 3).
The most common NTDs are spina bifida and anencephaly. Spina bifida, often called “open spine,” affects the spine and, sometimes, the spinal cord. Children with the severe form of spina bifida have some degree of leg paralysis and bladder- and bowel-control problems and, sometimes, neurologic and developmental problems. Anencephaly is a fatal condition in which a baby is born with a severely underdeveloped brain and skull.
Folic acid also may help prevent other birth defects, including cleft lip and palate and some heart defects (1, 4).
A recent study suggests that women who take folic acid for at least 1 year before they become pregnant can cut their risk for having a premature baby (born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) by half (5). The study also suggests that these women can reduce their risk of having a very premature baby (born before 32 completed weeks) by up to 70 percent. Premature babies are at increased risk of newborn complications and lasting disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy and vision loss, with very premature babies at highest risk.
How much folic acid does a woman need?
The March of Dimes recommends that all women who can become pregnant take a multivitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day starting before pregnancy, as part of a healthy diet. This advice, based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (6), assures that a woman can get all the folic acid and other vitamins she needs daily. A 2007 March of Dimes Gallup survey showed that 40 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States take a vitamin with folic acid daily (7).
Healthy food choices include foods that are fortified with folic acid and foods that contain folate, the natural form of folic acid that is found in foods. Many grain products in the United States are fortified with folic acid. This means that a synthetic (manufactured) form of folic acid is added to them. Enriched flour, rice, pasta, bread and cereals are examples of fortified grain products. Women can check the label to see if a product is enriched. Good sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, dried beans, legumes, oranges and orange juice.
Folic acid from vitamin supplements and fortified foods is more readily absorbed and made available for use by the body than natural folate from food. According to the IOM, the body absorbs about 50 percent of food folate (6). By contrast, the body absorbs approximately 85 percent of the folic acid in fortified foods and 100 percent of the folic acid in a vitamin supplement (6). Cooking and storage can destroy some of the folate in foods.
Many studies have shown that the synthetic form of folic acid helps prevent NTDs. The IOM, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the March of Dimes recommend that women who could become pregnant consume at least 400 micrograms a day of the synthetic form of folic acid (1, 6).
Women can get this amount by taking a multivitamin or eating a serving of cereal that contains 100 percent of the daily value (DV) of folic acid (400 micrograms) (1). Most multivitamins and about 50 breakfast cereals contain this amount in one serving (8). Other cereals contain only 25 percent of the recommended amount. Women should check the label on the cereal box to see how much folic acid the cereal contains.
Do some women need more folic acid?
If a woman has already had a pregnancy affected by an NTD, she should ask her provider before her next pregnancy about the amount of folic acid she should take. Studies have shown that taking a larger dose of folic acid daily (4,000 micrograms, which equals 4 milligrams), beginning at least 1 month before pregnancy and in the first trimester of pregnancy, reduces by about 70 percent the risk of having another affected pregnancy (1). Women should take only one prenatal vitamin, plus three 1-milligram folic acid tablets to get the right amount (1). Taking more than one prenatal vitamin may cause women to get too much of certain other vitamins, such as vitamin A.
Women with diabetes, epilepsy and obesity are at increased risk of having a baby with an NTD (1). Women with these conditions should consult their provider before pregnancy to see if they should take a larger dose of folic acid.
Do women need folic acid throughout pregnancy?
Yes. A pregnant woman needs extra folic acid throughout pregnancy to help her produce the additional blood cells her body needs during pregnancy. Folic acid also supports the rapid growth of the placenta and fetus and is needed to produce new DNA (genetic material) as cells multiply. Without adequate amounts of folic acid, cell division could be impaired, possibly leading to poor growth in the fetus or placenta.
The IOM recommends that women increase their intake of folic acid to 600 micrograms a day (from supplements and food sources) once their pregnancy is confirmed (6). Most health care providers recommend a prenatal vitamin. Most prenatal vitamins contain 800 to 1,000 micrograms of folic acid. However, women should not take more than 1,000 micrograms (1 milligram) without their provider’s advice (1, 6).
How much folic acid is in fortified foods?
Since January 1, 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the addition of 140 micrograms of folic acid per 100 grams of grain to cereals, breads, pastas and other foods labeled “enriched.” This fortification makes it easier for women to get folic acid from food they eat.
Studies show that fortification is associated with increased blood folate levels in women of childbearing age (9). Since fortification of grain products, the rate of NTDs has decreased by one-third, although other factors have contributed to this decline (10).
The amount of folic acid added to fortified foods (with the exception of some cereals) is small. Most women cannot get enough daily folic acid from food alone. In fact, a 2007 government study found that blood folate levels declined significantly in women of childbearing age from 1999-2000 to 2003-2004, for reasons that are not clear (9).
When the FDA determined that grains should be fortified with folic acid, it limited the fortification amount because of concerns that high levels of folic acid could mask a vitamin B-12 deficiency (11). This condition is called pernicious anemia and is seen mainly in elderly people. Very high doses of folic acid (more than 1,000 micrograms a day) may correct the anemia caused by the vitamin deficiency, but not the deficiency itself, possibly delaying diagnosis. Left untreated for an extended period of time, vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage. To date, research has not demonstrated any risk of pernicious anemia or other adverse effects with current levels of folic acid fortification.
How does folic acid prevent birth defects?
How folic acid prevents NTDs is not well understood. Most studies suggest that it may correct a nutritional deficiency. However, others suggest that supplemental folic acid may help people compensate for common genetic traits that make them unable to use dietary folate. These traits could put women at extra risk for having children with NTDs (12).
Does folic acid have other health benefits?
Folic acid is important for everyone in maintaining health. Folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells. Individuals who are deficient in folic acid sometimes develop a form of anemia called megaloblastic anemia (characterized by a reduced number of red blood cells). Folic acid also may play a role in preventing other health problems.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"August 19th is a day to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened.These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters." ~Carly Marie Dudley

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We spent some much needed time with our girl today doing some updates on her gravesite <3

 We added the little fencing and some mulch, & it looks so much better now!
Hoping to get her a headstone soon.

‎”If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking back..

How it all started :)

( Telling Chris we were EXPECTING!!)
Feb. 8th 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!

One year ago today I married my best friend. Our first year as a married couple wasn't exactly ideal but it made us closer in so many ways. I fall in love with you more & more everyday! I am so proud to call my self your wife! Here is to 70 plus more years babe! xoxoxxx

Friday, July 8, 2011

I will carry you all my life..

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says ...

I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We have faith that we will get our rainbow!

  "In some circles, babies born to families after the loss of a child are referred to as "Rainbow Babies." The idea is that the baby is like a rainbow after a storm. "Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."
We know our angel Cali is watching over us & will bless us with a healthy baby someday. We have faith that we will get our rainbow!

Chris, Cait, & Cali

I just love how our names go so perfectly together.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blessed to have a beautiful angel

some fun in photoshop <3
-Spreading the awareness of the importance of Folic Acid-

Finding out that you are pregnant can be one of the happiest moments of your life but just think if at your first scan you were told that your child has a fatal condition that isn't compatible with life outside the womb?

Many women go through it and are heart broken by it. They are told that to prevent it happening in later pregnancies they should take a higher dose of folic acid - 5mg instead of 400mcg.

One question has always come to mind when I think of the time I was told this - why don't Doctors prescribe the higher dose to everyone to prevent these defects to start with as it is not harmful to mother or child, it is much more beneficial if anything.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Daddy Day

A wonderful daddy to a beautiful angel <3
Cali, you have one amazing daddy that loves you more than anything!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

I've always loved photshop but now I love it even more, nothing is better than creating something like this in honor of my sweet baby angel <3

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our song to our sweet angel

After having Cali, this song had a whole new meaning to us!
I'll love you all my life,
I'll love you everyday.
You've become my light <3

Friday, June 10, 2011

-Folic Acid Awareness-

A pregnancy is not always planned, but the effects of a folic acid deficiency in a woman who becomes pregnant can be devastating – please read on and be prepared, even if you never plan on having children – sometimes these things just happen! Every woman at risk of becoming pregnant, planned or unplanned should take folic acid to help prevent an unborn child developing spine, brain and other disorders.

If you think it will never happen to you, you are wrong. Neural Tube Defects and other similar conditions are on the increase.

The normal dose of folic acid is not always enough either, so if you have a family history of spine, brain or skull malformations, blood or bowel disorders, or even epilepsy, then please consult your doctor prior to trying for a baby for a considerably higher dose of folic acid, and take extra care to prevent prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

The sciencey bit
Folic Acid is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells. It is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as pregnancy.

Taking folic acid prior to pregnancy helps protect against a number of congenital malformations including neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs result in malformations of the spine (spina bifida), skull, and brain (anencephaly). The risk of NTD is significantly reduced (95%) when folic acid is taken IN ADDITION to a healthy diet prior to and during the first month of pregnancy.

The protective effect of folic acid during pregnancy goes beyond NTDs. Taking folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of congenital heart defects, cleft palate, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies. A healthy diet containing the right level of folic acid in today’s society is very hard to achieve, so anyone planning pregnancy or at risk of an unplanned pregnancy needs to be taking a folic acid supplement.

Recent research has shown that it is also very important for men who are planning on fathering children, reducing chromosomal defects in their sperm.

What is a NTD?
During the first month of pregnancy the neural tube (the nerves inside the spine) form, and then the spine forms around it like a zip from head to toe. Spina bifida is when the spine traps some of these nerves (a bit like when your zip gets stuck). The damage caused depends on the level of the trapped nerves. It can be damage to anything from vital organs, to limbs to organ function. The majority of cases involving major organs do not make it to birth.

Those that do not miscarry tend to have varying levels of sensation loss, paralysis or malformation in the lower body and loss of control of bowels and bladder. There is a list as long as my arm of associated conditions which tend to go hand in hand, but most notably is hydrocephalus involving the inability to drain fluid from the brain causing the brain to be crushed. Hydrocephalus can never be cured, but is treatable by using a shunt (drain) - there will always be a major health risk and involve numerous brain surgeries throughout the person's life.


In addition, it is belived that up to 1 in 10 woman have a folic acid deficiency and will not absorb it sufficiently due to genetic issues, even when taking the over the counter dose. If you have a family history of bowel problems, spina bifida, miscarriages, birth defects, and blood disorders please speak to your doctor about a prescribed dose.

Why do I need folic acid?
Because it's very difficult to eat enough foods rich in the vitamin to supply the amount that experts recommend you take in pregnancy.
Folic acid, also known as folate or folacin, is one of the B group of vitamins, also known as B9. Your body needs it to produce red blood cells, as well as norepinephrine and seratonin (chemical components of the nervous system. It helps make DNA (the body's genetic material), which normalises the brain's functions, and is a critical component of spinal fluid. Folic acid is also one of the few nutrients known to prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida, which, according to The Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH), affects one in every 1,500 babies born in the United Kingdom.

The Department of Health recommends that every woman who is thinking about pregnancy or is in the first third (trimester) of pregnancy to take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and eat a folate rich diet to reduce her baby's risk of getting some types of birth defects. Women who don't get enough may also increase their chance of miscarriage. Once you are into your second trimester (from week 13), you may wish to stop taking the supplements, although continuing to take them throughout pregnancy won't harm you or your baby either.

How much folic acid do I need?
Before you conceive, you'd be wise to take a daily folic acid supplement containing 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. This is usually within most multivitims and pre-natal supplments.

Women who have had one child with a neural tube defect have a higher risk of having other children with the same disability. In this case, and for those who are prescribed certain medications, doctors will prescribe these women to take a much higher dose of folic acid -- a five milligram (mg) tablet -- starting one month before conception, if possible, and continuing through the first three months of pregnancy.

While experts recommend a daily supplement of 400 mcg folic acid, eating plenty of folate-rich foods is important, too. See below for suggestions on folate-rich food.

What are the best food sources?
Leafy green vegetables are a good source, so try to have a large bowl of salad daily. Other sources include:
• 11 Brussels sprouts: 127 mcg
• large jacket potato: 39 mcg
• 4 tbsp black eyed beans: 220 mcg
• 7 tbsp bran flakes: 113 mcg
• 25g / 1oz wheat germ: 100 mcg
• 4 spears steamed or boiled asparagus: 88 mcg
• medium sized papaya: 115 mcg.
• 2 spears steamed broccoli: 61 mcg
• large orange: 54 mcg
• large hard-boiled egg: 22 mcg
• 75g / 3oz tinned salmon: 17 mcg

FYI Delicate folic acid in foods is destroyed by overcooking, so cook in a covered pan with the minimum amount of boiling water. Try to eat vegetables lightly steamed, microwaved, or raw. What are signs of a deficiency?
Folate-deficiency anaemia and iron-deficiency anaemia can have similar symptoms of fatigue and weakness. A mild folate deficiency may also leave you grumpy or edgy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

& it's been one month... :(

No one can know how much I love you, because you are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. Mommy loves and misses you so much Cali!!!! <3

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cali's Poem

-Our sweet, angel baby, Cali-
We were told you would not live.
We were told your life we could not give.
We were told that you weren't whole.
We were told that you had no soul.
We were told that you had no chance.
We were told it was a matter of circumstance.
But when you came we wondered who to blame.
But when you came, our feelings were not the same.
But when you came, our love could not be denied.
But when you came, you were our precious pride.
But when you came, we knew that God had sent you from above.
But when you came, you were ours only for a short time to love.
In our eyes, you were a miracle so perfect and so sweet.
In our eyes, no other could compete.
In our eyes, you were meant to be.
In our eyes, God's plan is the key.
In our eyes, you will forever be in our heart.
In our eyes, we will never be apart.
Our love for you will never die.
Our love for you will pass the test of time.
By- Linda Cremeens (Cali's Mema)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Anencephaly awareness.

Anencephaly:Is known as a neural tube defect. One of the most common occurring in about 1 out of every 1000 pregnancies. It is the failure of the neural tube to close properly resulting in the absence of the major portion of the brain and the top part of the skull.

Neural Tube:
The neural tube is a narrow sheath that folds and closes between the 3rd and 4th wks of pregnancy (roughly 21 to 28 days after conception) to form the brain and spinal cord. When the cephalic or head end of the tube fails to close properly, it results in the absence of the major portion of the brain, skull and at times scalp. Infants are born without a fore-brain (the thinking and coordinating area)and are usually blind, deaf, unconcious and are unable to feel pain. Infants may exhibit reflex actions, such as respiration and responses to touch and sound. ( I truly believe that even though my daughter may have been deaf, that her soul...her spirit was not and that she was able to hear and feel my love for her)
Diagnosis:Diagnosis is usually made by the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) test at 16 to 18 wks and then confirmed by follow up level 2 ultrasound. Normally, a detectable and predictable amount of this protein crosses the placenta and enters the bloodstream.The alpha-fetoprotein test detects amounts of this protein, which is produced by the unborn babies liver, and measures the amount in the mother's blood. But if the fetus has an abnormal opening in its spine (spina bifida) or head (anencephaly), or an abdominal wall defect, more alpha-fetoprotein may leak out which will cause the AFP test to be elevated. Some cases of anencephaly have been diagnosed, via ultrasound, as early as 10 1/2 wks . It has been shown that a transvaginal ultrasound is better at diagnosing anencephaly before 16 wks than the standard abdominal ultrasound.

- Folic acid defiency
- High temperatures of 102 degress or higher for more than 5 hours.
-Environmental/chemical exposure
- Rare genetic cause ( Genetics have long been considered likely because of the increased risk of having a 2nd child with anencephaly, but scientists still remain uncertain about the evidence to prove or disprove this theory. Some genetic disorders such as waardenburg syndrome and certain ethnic groups seem to have a higher incidence of anencephaly.)
-Each case of anencephaly is unique; we can only speculate as to what causes a particular case. 

Treatment:There is no cure for anencephaly.

Prognosis:Most infants with anencephaly will be born still. A small percentage(30-33%) will be born alive and will live for a few moments.

Taking 4 to 5 miligrams of folic acid daily for 2 to 3 months before conception and until at least the 3rd month of pregnancy is recommended for all woman at risk of having a child with a neural tube defect.(Woman who have had a previous baby with anencephaly are 10 to 15 times more likely than average to have a second NTD pregnancy.Folic acid is thought to be able to prevent 70% of NTDS.)Normal recommended daily dosage for all woman of child bearing ages is 400 micrograms (0.4 miligrams).Taking more than 1 miligram of folic acid daily is not recommended for all woman, because folic acid can mask the symptoms of pernicious anemia (a B-12 deficiency) and makes diagnosis difficult

Folic Acid:
Folic acid is a necessary element needed for correct neural tube development. It is part of the B-Complex Vitamins and is also called folate or folacin. It is present in many leafy, green vegetables, orange juice, dried beans, and peas. It is difficult to get enough folic acid by diet alone. In fact, in order to get 4 mgs of folic acid daily, you would need to drink 80 glasses of orange juice or have 100 servings of broccoli. In the United States, we now fortify many of our grain products, such as bread to help prevent neural tube defects. Folic Acid can significantly reduce the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect,but does not totally eliminate the possibility.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) "conducts and supports a wide range of studies that explore the complex mechanisms of normal brain development. Knowledge gained from fundamental studies provides the foundation for understanding how this process can go awry and, thus, offers hope for new means to treat and prevent congenital brain disorders including neural tube defects such as anencephaly."

The March of Dimes started a Folic Acid Awareness campaign in Dec. of '98'. The Foundation has pledged to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by at least 30% by the year 2001 through its new, multi-year Folic Acid Campaign. The Campaign will reach women through community action, health professional education, and mass media. Everyone is welcome to join this important campaign. (There may be more organizations conducting research that I am unaware of yet.)