Jennifer Snowden, star of the hit Bravo show, Southern Charm, has had to endure devastating news and make agonizing decisions in regards to her son, Ascher. Fifteen weeks into her pregnancy, the reality star learned her unborn baby had a rare brain disease called encephalocele.
In a new interview, Jennifer shared where she and baby Ascher are today and how hope and purpose were the blessing in disguise.
“Honestly at this point, after everything I’ve gone through, there’s not much that I’m afraid of anymore,” Jennifer shared with the Daily Mail.
“I’m proud of myself and proud of Ascher. After I got the news I’d pray every night and I’d talk to my baby and tell him to be strong. I’d tell him you can rewrite what’s supposed to be a bad history.”
For a long time Jennifer was under the impression she couldn’t have children so when she learned on Valentine’s Day that she and partner, Lee, were pregnant, they regarded the baby as a “miracle baby.”
However, not long after that celebration Jennifer recalled hearing the shocking news from the doctor. “He just told me straight out, ‘Your baby has an encephalocele on his brain.’ I didn’t know what that meant but he looked at me and started crying and left the room.”
Pardon the following: my baby's bedhead, my bad singing, the lyrics I probably have wrong & the spray tan I've rubbed all over my child's clothes. Oh and the fact that I'm orange from said spray tan. Happy hump day friends! 💙☀️ Post Note: Thank yall for your sweet sweet comments below. Love to you all!! 😘😘😘
Given little information on what they were facing, Jennifer went home and searched the internet for information and found “hundreds of horror stories.” The following day, Jennifer and Lee met with a specialist who told them 85% of women with this diagnosis terminate the pregnancy.
“She handed me the abortion papers and said you have eight weeks to decide if you’re going to terminate but we can book you in – in two days time,” Jennifer explained. “I remember asking her, ‘Have you ever seen a case where a baby gets better or is born and defies the odds?’ She looked at me and said, ‘No.’”
Jennifer said, “I was told ‘your experience of motherhood will never be like your friends. Your child may not know you, he may not be able to show emotions or feed himself or control his bowels. He will need 24-hour care and there are few people who can incur that daily expense.’ There was absolutely nothing good in what I was being told. It felt like an elephant had been dropped on me. I couldn’t breathe.”
Although her family gave Jennifer the space to make the decision, they “favored terminating the pregnancy.” But Jennifer had a three-week window to wait for an additional scan that would allow a more sophisticated image to be performed on her baby. However, the MRI only confirmed the original diagnosis, so Jennifer was back to making the biggest decision of her life. Not knowing where to turn or what to do, the advice came to her in a very unlikely source – her hair dresser.
“She [the hair dresser] said “you don’t know what God can heal in the womb and you don’t have to be so sad. You’re sad because of this weighty decision but you just have to pray.”’
Jennifer tore up the abortion papers and made the decision to keep Ascher at the 23-week mark. Two months before the scheduled delivery date another brain scan showed that little Ascher’s brain was healing.
On the day of the delivery there were 23 doctors in surgery because they wanted to be prepared for anything. When Ascher was delivered by C-section, Jennifer was “flooded with torrential love” but saw that a part of his brain was “almost entirely exposed.”
“It was like looking at a mother board.” Jennifer said that minutes later he was rushed into surgery. “If that had touched anything during birth he would have been brain dead.”
Through tears, Jennifer explained, ‘I couldn’t hold him for two days, I couldn’t even see him properly because I couldn’t stand and his crib in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was too high for me to look into fully.”
There is good news to report, though, baby Ascher is hitting every milestone.
“I feel like in all my years I’ve lived life to the fullest but I didn’t feel like I had a purpose and that’s lonely. Now Ascher is my purpose and sharing his story so that maybe even just one woman who’s in the position I was in, sees there is hope.”