Warning: This article contains graphic images that some readers may find disturbing
Holly Hodgson was pregnant and was looking forward to welcoming her baby to the world and all the joys of motherhood that would follow. But when she went to a routine exam in her 12th week of pregnancy, the ultrasound showed something shocking: her fetus had a congenital defect called gastroschisis.
This rare, gestational development disorder causes the child's organs to grow outside its body, often hanging in a jumbled mass through an opening in the abdominal wall. It's a terrible condition that you wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone a young woman expecting her first child.
The attending physician had seen similar cases in his career. He sympathetically suggested that the pregnancy be terminated in order to spare the child of a short and agonizing existence.
Holly and her husband researched the condition and sought a second opinion. They learned that between 90 to 95% of affected babies survive birth and of those, 10% contract infections or struggle with complications that can be ongoing or even fatal.
The pair decided to take the risk and declined the doctor's suggestion. Seven months later, Teddy was born. As initially shown on the ultrasound, his entrails lay outside his small body on his abdomen.
Doctors immediately sprang to action. They wrapped him in a special film to stabilize him. After two weeks, the rest of his organs had developed sufficiently that the intestines could carefully be inserted through a hole in his abdomen.
After only eight weeks, Holly and Steve were able to bring Teddy home.
Holly is still angry with the doctor who had given her such pessimistic advice. But the joy of her now healthy, bright-eyed son outweighs her anger. "He's such a happy boy. He just loves making faces and talking to people. He always smiles, giggles and squeaks at people he doesn't even know — it's very cute."
It's a lucky thing that these parents weren't dissuaded so easily, but instead looked for a second opinion and had an excellent surgical team to treat the condition. Little Teddy is a real charmer!