How One Couple Used the Power of the Internet to Save Their Unborn Child

The news: Sometimes the only thing you need in the way of a miracle is a lucky Google search. 

Tampa Bay couple Jeff and Kristen had been trying to conceive, but after a miscarriage and no luck with in-vitro fertilization, they had all but given up. Then, by itself, the unexpected happened: Kristen became pregnant. 

But four months later, things to a worrying turn. Kristen's cervix began to shrink; to stop her from miscarrying, they attempted to sew her cervix shut, but it didn't work. "Three specialists basically told me either you are going to miscarry in the next few weeks, or you're going to have a severely premature infant," she told Fox 13 this week. 

Jeff began scrambling for answers. Through the almighty Google, he discovered laparoscopic intra-abdominal cerclage, a procedure in which a doctor attaches a band (similar to the one used in gastric bypass surgery) to the bottom of the womb, thereby ensuring a baby stays safely inside. Though only a  few doctors will perform the surgery, Jeff and Kristen found one in Arizona. He completed the procedure successfully, and Benjamin was born — only seven weeks early — in Nov. 2013. 

A change in the narrative: When somebody says he or she found medical information on the Internet, the reaction usually isn't good. We're constantly warned to stay far away from self-diagnosing, particularly if we found the details on the web


There's a good reason for that: Most people are not doctors. They have no idea what to look for, and if they do find something, they don't know how to properly interpret it. 

Jeff and Kristen, on the other hand, defied this conventional wisdom, and it paid off. Theirs isn't just a story of good luck; it's also an extremely rare case of getting it right. Though both work in the medical field — Jeff is a physician and Kristen is a nurse practitioner — neither work in OBGYN-related areas. 

The takeaway: Jeff and Kristen's situation was a little different from the norm — they weren't diagnosing something, but rather searching for a solution to a known problem. Still, their story is an example of technology's power to save. 

"I wish and I pray every day that more and more women learn about this procedure," said Kristen. While it certainly isn't wise to rely on Google to diagnose every single medical ailment, it can be used for good under the right circumstances.

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Sophie Kleeman

Sophie is a staff writer at Mic covering the intersection of tech and culture. She's based in New York and can be reached at sophie@mic.com.

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