Baby Ava-Rose Nightingale, from Carmarthen in Wales, has been dubbed the inside-out baby because she was born with her intestines outside her body.
Medicine identifies this condition as gastroschisis. This is a birth defect that causes a baby’s intestines to grow outside the body because the abdominal wall did not form properly before birth.
Ava-Rose Nightingale was born naturally on May 21 at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Immediately she was born and the condition of her intestines was noticed, the doctors quickly wrapped her intestines up in cling film to keep her warm and avoid infections. After that, the doctors headed for a surgery.
Before the birth, however, Chloe had already been prompted by doctors that there was a bit of an abnormality with her baby during her 16-week check-up.
The doctor made a couple of discoveries. Baby Ava-Rose had gastroschisis and her mother had an anterior placenta.
Having an anterior placenta is a condition that arises when the placenta develops wherever the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus. The usual scenario is that the baby forms on the front wall of the womb.
As a result of this Chloe did not feel a single movement from her baby throughout her pregnancy.
After her birth, 21-year-old Chloe Walters only got a few seconds of cuddle with her baby. The dairy farmer described the episode as a scary experience.
“It was such a scary experience. They told me I wouldn’t be able to hold her but I was so upset I got to for five seconds.”
“Her intestines were on her and they looked bigger than her. It was like huge blobs of flesh and red.”
Baby Ava Rose Nightingale survived the 3-hour surgery. She spent 7 weeks with her parents, Scott and Chloe Nightingale, in the hospital before she was discharged. During that time, the strong baby made use of a breathing aid. She was also fed intravenously through the head before she was slowly introduced to milk.
“I couldn’t look at the photo. At the time I didn’t want it and to see it would have broken my heart.”
“But after two weeks I wanted to see it. I built up the courage to have a look and while it was horrible it shows how far she has come.”
“To look at her now you’d never know what she has been through.”
Baby Ava-Rose Nightingale’s mother took to Facebook to create awareness for the condition which she says occurs one in 3,000 babies every year.
What is Gastroschisis?
Gastroschisis is a type of birth and abdominal wall defect. It occurs when a child’s abdomen partially develops while in the womb. This causes the intestines to develop on the outside.
The cause of Gastroschisis is not known yet. As Chloe stated in her Facebook post, the condition commonly occurs in baby boys and mothers under age 20.
Gastroschisis is treated through surgical means where the intestines are put back into the body. Before the surgery, the intestines are wrapped in cling film to keep the baby warm and avoid damage.
If the surgery is successful then the baby only needs to recuperate. They live normal lives like everyone else.