A mum has shared photos of her brave little ‘inside-out’ baby, who was born with her intestines on the outside of her body.
Ava-Rose Nightingale suffered from gastroschisis, where her intestines grew outside her body because her abdominal wall didn’t completely form before birth.
In photos taken just minutes after she was born, the tiny girl is wrapped up in cling film to avoid infection, before being taken away for a three-hour operation.
Her mum, 21-year-old Chloe Walters, could only bring herself to look at the photo two weeks later – but is now sharing it to raise awareness of the rare condition, which affects one in 3,000 babies.
‘It was such a scary experience,’ the dairy farmer from Camarthen said. ‘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.
‘But I didn’t even have time to rest before the doctor was in with me explaining the risks of her surgery. Of course they had to tell me but it was really scary having to sign her life away just after she was born.’
Ava-Rose was born via natural delivery on May 21 at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, weighting 6lb 8oz.
After doctors successfully put her organs back in place she was still on oxygen for seven days, as she had ‘forgotten how to breathe’ after having morphine and the operation. She was also fed through a long line into her head for 14 days before being introduced to milk.
After a seven-week stay in hospital, the baby was finally allowed home in late June.
Chloe added that Ava-Rose is now happy and healthy, and that ‘to look at her now, you’d never know what she has been through’.
The photo, which Chloe posted on Facebook in order to raise awareness, has been seen by hundreds of people.
She wrote: ‘Thanks to doctors at Cardiff Heath hospital. I couldn’t thank them enough for saving are little girl. Seven weeks in recovery and she now home fit and healthy.’