Two-Year-Old Toddler Born With Organs Outside Her Body Defies Odds After Fears She Wouldn't Survive Birth
Little Laurel Phizacklea has defied all odds having been born with her organs outside of her body.
The toddler's parents, Kelly, 30, and Sean, 34, were offered a termination at their 12-week scan having been told by doctors that their unborn child would be born with a severe exomphalos - a condition which occurs when the baby's abdominal wall does not form during pregnancy.
However, Kelly and Sean decided to hold on to little Laurel who was born in June 2018.
Now two, Laurel has been left with a protruding bump from her tiny tummy which her parents have to wrap in bandages to support her external organs.
Generally, babies with exomphalos have their organs reinserted at birth, but due to the large size of Laurel's, she must now wait until she is three years old to have the operation.
Kelly, a volunteer supporting parents in neonatal care, from Cambridge, Kent, said: "I don't know how we remained positive throughout my pregnancy with Laurel.
"It really looked as if she wouldn't survive birth - but Sean and I never gave up hope and she has done us so proud.
"Her pouch of organs on her tummy is a part of her and she doesn't let it get her down.
"Laurel is a true inspiration and amazes us every day."
Skin has formed around Laurel's external organs and she is able to go to the toilet and eat and drink like any other toddler her age.
However, parents say they have to keep a close eye on her as she's a "daredevil" and injuries could be irreparable.
Speaking about the moment doctor's offered them an abortion, Kelly said: "We couldn't quite believe what we were hearing when they offered us an abortion.
"People kept saying: 'It's OK, you can try again' - but I didn't want another baby.
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"I was so in love with this baby and we knew we would do everything we could for her."
On June 6th 2018, surgeons performed a classic caesarean - meaning they cut vertically on Kelly's stomach as opposed to horizontally - giving them more room to remove baby Laurel.
Doctors warned the nervous parents not to expect to hear their baby cry - so when they heard her cries both were overcome with relief.
"When we heard her cry out I couldn't believe it," Kelly said.
"Both Sean and I just burst into tears.
"We knew it was far from the end of it - but to hear her cry was a huge relief and from that moment we knew she was a fighter.
"We saw a glimpse of her as she was wheeled past. I was just so relieved she'd got through the birth."
The new family spent three and a half months at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, before little Laurel was able to go home.
"We knew she'd need the big operation further down the line, but just having her home was so special," Kelly said.
"We quickly realised she was an adventurous baby, so knew we'd need to keep an eye on her so she wouldn't damage her exomphalos.
"Even though we try to make sure she's sensible and careful, it's so hard with a two-year-old.
"She still tries to jump off the arm of the sofa, and loves being in a muddy puddle splashing about outdoors.
"She's a bit of a daredevil - which can be a little stressful but that's all part of why we love her!"
Despite everything, Laurel is living a normal happy life.
Laurel, you're a hero!
Featured Image Credit: SWNS