by Oge Okonkwo
A baby with a little chance of survival has beaten all odds to stay alive after she was born with part of her brain outside her skull.
Little Faith Martin, now aged three months, was not expected to breathe on her own when she was born.
According to Daily Mail, doctors explained to her parents, Jessica Williams, 20, and Aaron Martin, 21, who were heart broken at the sight of their daughter saying they wouldn’t intervene if she couldn’t.
Daily Mail reports:
Faith (pictured with her mother, Jessica) was diagnosed during a scan and her parents were warned she might not be able to breathe when she was born. Doctors said if this was the case, they wouldn’t intervene
During a 17-week pregnancy scan at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital her parents were told she had the rare condition encephalocele.
Encephalocele is described as a sac-like protrusion of the brain, and the membranes that cover it, through an opening in the skull.
It happens when the neural tube – an embryo’s precursor to the central nervous system which comprises the brain and spinal cord – does not close completely during pregnancy.
Ms Williams, who is also mother to one-year-old Logan, said: ‘I went for my first scan and they said that there was a problem.
‘We didn’t know what to think and the consultant came to see us. I was in shock.
‘They knew straight away that the skull hadn’t fused together properly and that there was a hole in the back of her skull.’
Because prospects for babies with this condition are often catastrophic – many do not survive and others are left with lifelong brain damage and other neurological problems – many parents choose to terminate the pregnancy.
When Faith was born she cried immediately, proving that she could breathe. She has now had surgery to remove the protrusion
Faith’s parents, Jessica Williams and Aaron Martin, were told she could be severely disabled but they did not consider aborting her as they wanted to give her a chance. They are pictured with Faith and their son, Logan
Ms Williams said: ‘The consultant said that he thought that she was going to be severely disabled.
‘All along we were told it was the part of the brain that controlled breathing that was affected.
‘We were told that most babies that they knew of had died from it.
‘They said that a termination was completely up to us and did we want to go away and think about it?
‘But if there was any chance at all then we wanted to give it to her.
‘We never gave termination a thought.’
The pair met with a consultant at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) who offered them some hope.
Ms Williams said: ‘He said that he’d seen them much bigger and seen the baby be OK in the end.’
To avoid any damage to the protrusion, Ms Williams had planned a Caesarean section birth.
However her waters broke on October 13 and the C-section was brought forward.
Ms Williams said: ‘She cried straight away – and a couple of minutes later there was another cry.
‘The consultant said he was happy enough to let her be left with us on the ward. I always clung onto the hope that she would be OK.’
The pair were sent home with their new baby the day after with weekly visits to a nurse-led clinic planned.
Faith had a MRI scan four days after she was born.
Faith is not believed to have suffered any long term effects as a result of her condition
‘It went from being the “breathing part” of her brain to “a part” of her brain,’ said Ms Williams.
However, the protrusion grew and by December it was 21cm in diameter from 6cm at birth.
Caring for her was difficult, says Ms Williams, as her protrusion was painful when touched.
She said: ‘She was in a lot of pain and had to be put on her side.’
An operation took place at Newcastle’s RVI on January 10 when she was three months old.
This saw surgeons remove the protrusion – which contained excess brain fluid and dead brain matter – and fit a shunt to redirect any further fluid build-up to her stomach.
Ms Williams and Mr Martin now describe Faith as their ‘little miracle’ and say she is doing everything a normal three-month-old is expected to do
Faith now needs MRI scans every six months and checks-ups to make sure she’s developing as expected.
Ms Williams said: ‘We came home and she’s been fine and she’s been doing everything at three months that she should be doing and she will lead a totally normal life.’
She added: ‘It proves that doctors can be wrong as this outcome just wasn’t an option for her.
‘She’s quite a determined little thing. She’s our little miracle.’
A spokeswoman for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We give women as much information as we possibly can to help them make informed choices and we will support them in every way possible, whatever they decide to do.’
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