A little girl was born with her stomach, liver and bowel on the outside of her body.
Laurel Phizacklea wasn’t expected to survive birth, but in June she celebrated her second birthday.
The scan found that their baby had major exomphalos, where the baby’s abdominal wall doesn’t form during pregnancy.
Most babies that are born with the condition will have their organs reinserted when they’re born, but becuase Laurel’s is unusually large, doctors say the procedure can’t take place until she’s three.
Laurel has a bump on her belly that her parents wrap up with bandages to support her organs, in case the weight of them pulled anything else out of her belly.
The bump has skin around it, with Laurel able to eat, drink and go to the loo just like any other toddler, but her parents have to keep an eye on the ‘daredevil’ kid – any injuries could be irreparable.
The mound doesn’t bother the little girl, who loves to cradle her exomphalos when her bandages are removed for bath time, often stroking it and saying ‘ah tummy’.
Kelly, a volunteer supporting parents in neonatal care, from Cambridge, Kent, said: “I don’t know how we remained positive throughout my pregnancy with Laurel.
“It really looked as if she wouldn’t survive birth – but Sean and I never gave up hope and she has done us so proud.
“Her pouch of organs on her tummy is a part of her and she doesn’t let it get her down.
“Laurel is a true inspiration and amazes us every day.”
Doctors also said that Kelly and Sean’s baby had a spinal deformity – and the pair were offered a termination.
“We couldn’t quite believe what we were hearing when they offered us an abortion,” Kelly said.
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“People kept saying: ‘It’s OK, you can try again’ – but I didn’t want another baby.
“I was so in love with this baby and we knew we would do everything we could for her.”
Doctors warned both Kelly and Sean not to expect to hear their baby cry – so when they heard her cries both were overcome with relief.
“When we heard her cry out I couldn’t believe it,” Kelly said.
“Both Sean and I just burst into tears.
“We knew it was far from the end of it – but to hear her cry was a huge relief and from that moment we knew she was a fighter.”
“We saw a glimpse of her as she was wheeled past,” Kelly said.
“I was just so relieved she’d got through the birth.”
After seven hours, Kelly and Sean were finally able to meet their daughter properly for the first time.
“Her tummy was swaddled in bandages,” Kelly said.
“We knew to expect it to look different – so we weren’t scared at all.”
Amazingly, after just three-and-a-half-months in Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, Laurel was able to return home.
“We knew she’d need the big operation further down the line, but just having her home was so special,” Kelly said.
“We quickly realised she was an adventurous baby, so knew we’d need to keep an eye on her so she wouldn’t damage her exomphalos.”
“Even though we try to make sure she’s sensible and careful, it’s so hard with a two-year-old,” Kelly said.
“She still tries to jump off the arm of the sofa, and loves being in a muddy puddle splashing about outdoors.
“She’s a bit of a daredevil – which can be a little stressful but that’s all part of why we love her!”