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Health & Fitness Terrified mum told baby would be born with intestines outside her body

11:05  08 november  2021
11:05  08 november  2021 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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A mum-of-four was terrified when she was told her baby girl would be born with her intestines on the OUTSIDE of her body - but now just has an outie belly button to show for it.

Laura Woodward, 24, tried not to let it worry her when partner Adam Porter, 30, a dryliner, wasn't able to join her for her 12-week scan in June 2020, due to coronavirus restrictions.

The couple, who already had children Ava, seven, Zachary, five, and Tommy, two, knew they were having a little girl thanks to an eight week gender test, and were excited to add the 'final piece' to their family.

But that all changed when Laura received the news at the 12-week scan that there was 'something wrong' with their baby - and her whole world went into slow motion.

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  Terrified mum told baby would be born with intestines outside her body © Provided by Wales Online

Millie 1 day old, Alder Hey Childrens Hospital

After a consultation at Burnley Hospital, Lancashire, Laura and Adam's unborn child was diagnosed with gastroschisis, a rare birth defect that causes a baby's intestines to be born on the outside of their body.

The diagnosis petrified poor Laura, and robbed her of a happy pregnancy as she worried about her little girl's future.

But after a tense few months, little Millie Woodward was born via planned C-section on 11 December 2020, weighing 5lb 11ozs, at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool.

Her exposed intestines were wrapped in cling film before Laura was allowed her first cuddle, and within hours her vital organs were re-inserted into the body - leaving nothing to show for her traumatic start in life other than a little outie belly button.

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Laura, a care assistant from Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: "To look at her now, you'd never think she's been through all of that.

"My whole world stopped when the sonographer told me they were 'sorry' - I thought that was it.

  Terrified mum told baby would be born with intestines outside her body © Provided by Wales Online

Millie, 10 months

"But after the most stressful time of our lives she arrived, and it couldn't have gone better.

"We're so proud of her - she's just a beautiful little girl."

Mum Laura was over the moon when she found out she was expecting a little girl with partner Adam.

The couple had a private eight-week gender test in May 2020 before the 12-week scan a month later.

"I wasn't worried because I'd done it all three times before with my other children," Laura said.

"I knew the process, and my other pregnancies had been so smooth, so I didn't have any reason to think this time would be any different."

But at the 12-week scan on 22 June 2020 the sonographer at Blackburn Hospital revealed their unborn baby had a rare birth defect.

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"They just looked at me and told me they were sorry - it felt like everything went into slow motion," Laura said.

"I didn't understand what it would mean for our baby, I was just terrified."

The couple were referred for a specialist scan to gain further insight into their little girl's birth defect, and doctors confirmed she would be born with gastroschisis, where the intestines grow outside of the body.

"They tried to reassure us but it sounded terrifying," Laura said.

  Terrified mum told baby would be born with intestines outside her body © Provided by Wales Online

Millie’s outie belly button

"We were told I didn't have to continue with the pregnancy if I didn't want to, but there was no way I wasn't giving our baby a chance.

"They told us it was a high survival rate and something that can be fixed - so we just have to hope for the best."

Laura said she found it incredibly hard to remain positive and was unable to enjoy her pregnancy like she had with her previous children through sheer panic for her unborn child - so was overwhelmed with relief when she was finally admitted to hospital for a planned C-section.

Little Millie, now eleven months, arrived at 11:11 on 11 December 2020, weighing 5lb 11ozs.

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"I've always thought 11 is a lucky number - even more so now!" Laura said.

  Terrified mum told baby would be born with intestines outside her body © Provided by Wales Online

L-R mum Laura Woodward, 24, Millie, 10 months, Ava Woodward, 7, Zachary Woodward, 5, Adam Porter, 30, and Tommy Woodward, 2

"When she arrived they wrapped her exposed organs up in clingfilm and allowed me to hold her for a bit which was just what I needed after all those months of worrying."

Millie received reversal surgery, to reinsert her small and large intestine into her body, an operation that went 'incredibly smoothly' at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool.

"To look at her now you'd never think she's been through so much," Laura said.

"She just has a little outie bellybutton to show for it, and is a little smaller than her friends, but I couldn't love her more if I tried.

"I try not to molly-coddle her but I just want to do everything I can to protect her now she's here.

"She's just perfect in every way."

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