Teen pregnancy is already a stressful situation for most young mothers, but 19-year-old Samantha had an especially difficult situation. Samantha has juvenile type 1 diabetes, so she was immediately facing a more complicated pregnancy. On top of this, Samantha was also struggling with untreated manic depression and a controlling relationship with the baby’s father (whom she is no longer with).
Nervous that her grandchild would be born with disabilities, Samantha’s mother Krystina turned to Dr. Phil for help. She and her daughter were hoping that the television host would have resources and connections that would help her handle her diabetes while pregnant in the best way possible.
Just as they had hoped, Dr. Phil brought in an expert mind to take a look at Samantha’s prenatal ultrasound. His friend, Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors, sat in the audience during taping and then joined the family onstage to give his two cents about the ultrasounds.
Unfortunately, the news that Dr. Stork had was not what any mother (or grandmother) wants to hear. Looking up at the projection of the ultrasound, the doctor confesses that there’s no way to sugarcoat the results.
“If you look at the spine and follow it, the lower spine does not extend all the way to the tailbone like you would normally hope or expect, which may signify caudal regression syndrome,” Dr. Stork reported. “That’s when the lower spine does not develop appropriately.”
Signs of caudal regression syndrome may mean that the baby will not be able to walk or fully use their legs; other lower body deformities are expected as well since the lower spine hasn’t fully developed.
Dr. Stork has a second ultrasound pulled up, where the lower leg has been circled in red. He points out that you can actually see that the bone development of that leg is not equivalent to the bones in the rest of the body.
On a more hopeful note, Dr. Stork confirms that this is one of those scenarios where you can’t know how bad the situation is until the baby is born. That means there is some hope that Samantha’s unborn child will be more developed or have more dominion over her lower body by the time she’s born.
The doctor also extends the sympathies that we’re all thinking watching this video: as a human being, it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch this young mother get this news.
It might be easy to place blame on Samantha for how she was previously handling her diabetes. But rather than judge, it’s more important to learn from this terrible story and hope that this newborn baby has a decent chance at a healthy life.
Update: Samantha’s daughter was born at 36 weeks and is doing extremely well; doctors say she surpassed expectations and is 100% cognitive. Samantha is handling her diabetes maturely and is trying to live a healthier life. She also recently received her GED and is currently preparing to start college.