Operating before birth can minimise nerve damage caused by severe defects in tissue around the spinal column. Denise Grady of The New York Times reports.

Charley Royer, 17 months old, has such a swift, strong kick that putting a pair of pants on him can turn into a wrestling match.

His mother doesn't mind. Far from it.

"Things that might annoy other parents, I'm so thankful for," Lexi Royer said.

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This child, who crawls around the house chasing a Yorkie named Bruce and proudly hauls himself upright against the couch, wasn't expected to do any of this. Before he was

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