Imagine what it would be like to have spent your entire life in a hospital. This is the reality for a toddler in Texas. She was born with her intestines outside of her body. After many surgeries, the little girl is finally able to go home and spend Christmas with her family.
Adalynn Willett is a two year old who has spent her entire young life in Cook Children’s Medical Center, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was born with a condition called omphalocele. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a birth defect of the abdominal wall. The result is that a baby is born with his or her intestines, liver, or other organs sticking out of their abdomen through their belly button. The organs are inside a thin, transparent, sac.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are about 775 babies that are born with omphalocele in the United States every year. This comes out to about 1 in every 5,386 babies.
Not long ago, there was another baby in the news who was born with ectopia cordis. Baby Audrina was born with her heart on the outside of her body. She survived the surgery that allowed doctors to put her heart back where it should be. Her parents are hoping she will be able to come home for Christmas.
Adalynn Willett was born with all of her intestines and her liver on the outside of her body. Doctors discovered that she had omphalocele when she was still a fetus. Since birth, she has undergone a total of twenty-eight surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy.
She’s come a long way, and will be able to leave the hospital, for the very first time. This will be the first Christmas that Adalynn and her family can spend outside of the hospital. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a toddler who has never lived with her family, and who has always lived in a hospital.
There are more visits to the hospital in Adalynn’s future. She has a tracheotomy right now, which is in place in order to offset the pressure her intestines are putting on her lungs. She has an IV and a feeding tube that provide her with nutrition.
After flu season ends, in Spring, the doctors are likely to remove her tracheotomy. Eventually, the IV and feeding tube will be removed as well. There is hope that she will not require lifelong care.
Image by Hey Paul Studio on Flickr