A Queensland baby born with large internal organs outside his body has defied all odds and is about to enjoy his first Christmas.
Little Elsie’s parents, Hannah and Simon Cox from the Sunshine Coast, received the shocking news during a 12-week scan that their baby had a “huge” omphalocele.
The condition involves a baby’s organs growing outside his body in the umbilical cord.
Elsie’s stomach, liver, and intestines were all outside of her tiny body, which posed a major challenge for her medical team at the Mater Center for Maternal Fetal Medicine at Mater Mothers’ Hospital, who needed to ensure her organs didn’t rupture during childbirth.
On May 30, 39 weeks into Ms. Cox’s pregnancy, Dr. James Aridas performed a complex cesarean to deliver Elsie, who weighed 2.56 kg.
dr Aridas said a team of more than 10 medical professionals worked on the successful delivery, including surgeons and anesthetists, as well as midwives and nurses.
“We had to make sure Elsie didn’t put any pressure on her abdomen or umbilical cord during labor,” said Dr. Aridas.
“It was definitely the biggest omphalocele I’ve seen in my career.
“It was a very delicate, challenging delivery – but everything went according to plan.”
Senior director of neonatology, Pita Birch, said omphaloceles affect one in 4,200 live births, but “huge” ones are much rarer and often associated with other abnormalities.
One in five babies born with a giant omphalocele does not survive.
“There was a plan to try at least partial closure of Elsie’s abdomen, but she was too ill and had a number of respiratory problems at birth,” said Dr. birch
She said taking care of Elsie has been a “huge team effort”, including the contribution of her parents who are “very attentive and actively involved in her care”.
Ms Cox said Elsie’s condition has affected her respiratory system as her ribs and chest have formed into a cone shape and she may need surgery as she gets older.
But other than that, Elsie, who spent almost two months in 24-hour care at Mater Mothers’ Hospital, is a thriving and happy baby.
“Your tummy is pretty flat now; She has a small bump that looks like a hernia, but it’s actually just her bowels still moving down. Your body still needs some time to heal.”
The couple is looking forward to celebrating their first Christmas with their amazing girl.
“What we went through this year felt like a lifetime. I look at photos and see how far Elsie has come and think she is our miracle,” Ms Cox said.
“It’s been a great journey and worth every minute of it.
“We never thought we’d be home with Elsie for Christmas and it’s a precious joy to share with our friends and family.”
Originally released as Qld, the baby survives birth with external organs