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April 04, 2019 | Lauren Westerfield, MS, CGC
PHOTO: Paul Kuntz

“I honestly don’t know much about genetic testing; my doctor just told me to come here.”

When I ask my patients if they understand why they were referred to genetic counseling, this is close to the most common response.

I get it – genetic counselors aren’t exactly top-of-mind when it comes to specialty care providers, falling far behind pediatricians, cardiologists or neurologists. But we play an equally important role in caring for many families at all different stages of life.

Here at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women...

April 02, 2019 | Karla M. Bermudez Wagner, MD, Samantha Stover, MS, CGC
Getty Images

In our country, every 1 in 33 infants – or nearly 120,000 infants each year – will have a birth defect. It’s not completely uncommon; most of us can probably think of a friend or family member we know with some kind of birth defect.

In reality, every pregnancy faces a 3 to 5 percent risk of birth defects.

We obviously can’t prevent every birth defect from developing, but there are many things women can do to help increase their chances of delivering a healthy baby.

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February 14, 2019 | Natalie Gaudin, patient and mother of patient
Images courtesy of Natalie Gaudin

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I imagine nearly everyone has heard this old saying before. In other words, find the positive in a negative situation. In our case, we’ve been doing our best to “make lemonade” ever since finding out our daughter, Emerson Grace, has spina bifida – a rare birth defect in which the baby’s spine and spinal cord fail to develop properly. It’s a bit ironic that the first sign of spina bifida, noticed by our physician through ultrasound, was the shape of her brain. It was shaped just like a lemon – a classic finding among babies with spina bifida.

I can remember this time...

January 31, 2019 | Johnna Kerres, patient and mother of patient
Images courtesy of Johnna Kerres
STOP! If you haven’t read Johnna’s first two blog posts, click here.

We just recently received our family pictures, which were taken on Everett’s second birthday. The first picture got me – he’s standing up on the chair with an ornery smile. STANDING – all on his own. He’s perfectly balanced and ready to take on the world!

Most mothers would probably tell their child to sit down and stop standing on the chair in the middle of...

January 02, 2019 | Kristen Webernick, patient
Images courtesy of Kristen Webernick

“First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in the baby carriage!” Realistically, this isn’t how life plays out for every couple.

I fell in love with my husband, Zack, in the fall of 2011. We were engaged in February 2015 and then married in April 2016. We initially planned for a honeymoon baby, since we were already together for five years at the time. We were also both 28 years old and ready to start our family.

We started trying to conceive in May 2016 and ended up pregnant a few months later in September. However, I unexpectedly lost my mother to a tragic,...

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