Doctors Panic When Newborn’s Skin Begins to Crack Seconds After Emergency C-section

By Li Yen, Epoch Times
August 18, 2019 Updated: August 18, 2019


One particular day in September 2017, Jennie Wilklow, of Highland, New York, underwent a C-section at 34 weeks to deliver her daughter, Anna. However, the arrival of Anna changed her life forever, because her precious little girl, whose ultrasounds showed no signs of birth defect, was born with a rare condition called harlequin ichthyosis.

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As soon as Anna came into the world, she cried, and the people in the operating room said, “She is beautiful.” Wilklow smiled as she heard these words. But her happiness was short-lived and soon turned into shock as she realized there was something wrong with her daughter.

Seconds after the delivery, Anna’s face changed. Her skin hardened, and then it began to crack, resulting in open wounds all over her body. Behind the curtain, nurses and doctors were frantically trying to help the baby.

“My husband was brought out and made to choose between larger hospitals and told she had a condition, but it was unknown what,” Wilklow wrote for Love What Matters. “He was handed our Anna and was able to look deep into her eyes just moments before they swelled, and she could not open them again for many days.”

A shocked Wilklow then sat alone in the hospital room staring at the wall. She had a normal pregnancy up until now but wondered what really went wrong with her baby girl.

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Bài viết do Jennie (@harlequindiva) chia sẻ vào

Later, the mom was told Anna suffered a genetic disorder known as harlequin ichthyosis that causes babies to be covered with plates of thick skin that crack and split apart.

The doctors had never seen any case like Anna’s. Wilklow’s husband kept saying, “It’s bad.” However, he then mentioned, “Jennie, I looked in her eyes, and she has the most beautiful soul.”

When Anna was placed in Wilklow’s arms, “broken is the only way to describe the feeling.”

Anna was perfect, except that “for months her skin had been growing at an accelerated rate and all at once, upon hitting the outside air, it began to dry.” Describing Anna’s physical condition, Wilklow said, “her fingers were being squeezed and turning blue and her toes were on the bottom of her feet from the skin being so tight.”

“I spent most of the next two days trying not to look up her condition and thinking how she would have zero quality of life if she lived. I allow myself to admit this thought because it was only in that moment, at the most confused and alone time of my life, that I thought maybe she would be better off dead?” Wilklow recalled.

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Bài viết do Jennie (@harlequindiva) chia sẻ vào

However, when the mom learned that the doctor predicted Anna had a slim chance of survival, she knew at that moment that she couldn’t let her baby die.

Typically, infants born with harlequin ichthyosis rarely survive the first few days of life, according to the First Skin Foundation. Miraculously, Anna was a little fighter and survived against all odds. Her eyes opened for the first time days later. “She was beauty in the purest form,” the mom said.

For about a month, the little girl was covered in vaseline and kept in a humidity-controlled room. Eventually, Wilklows brought Anna home.

To prevent Anna’s skin from cracking, Wilklow has to cover her with Vaseline, Aquaphor, and numerous other lotions every couple of hours. Other than that, the baby needs to bathe for four hours, two times during the day and two times at night. In addition to that, she also consumes a whopping 2,100 calories daily to fuel her rapid skin growth process as per Inside Edition.

What a brave, beautiful baby girl! 💗(via People)

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Amidst all these difficulties, Wilklow was able to put everything in perspective as time went by.

“I decided to focus on what I could have and not what I couldn’t. I decided that if Anna could wear only fleece, then I would pick the cutest fleece pajamas I could find, and I would match her hat every day,” she said. “I set small goals, and each time I reached one, I celebrated in a big way.”

“When you have a child with any type of disability, you find yourself rejoicing in even the smallest moments. I started to realize that if I put restrictions on what she was capable of, then that would become what she would accomplish, so I decided to set the bar high. I decided she was capable of anything, and so was I,” she shared.

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Gradually, Wilklow put down the heavy burden of worrying for her little girl and decided to document Anna’s life journey on Instagram, sharing it with the world.

As of today, over 43,800 people around the globe have been following Anna’s daily chronicles on Instagram.

“What my husband saw in her eyes on that first day was instantly what the whole world saw. Anna captured everyone’s hearts because she is the purest form of perfection,” Wilklow said.

Speaking to Insider, she said: “She is so happy all of the time and just never stops smiling. I want others to see Anna and understand that life isn’t about the obstacles but about the grace in which you overcome them.”

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Bài viết do Jennie (@harlequindiva) chia sẻ vào

Though caring for Anna isn’t an easy task, the love Wilklow has for her baby girl seems to overcome even the toughest of ordeals.

To the loving mom, who left her job to take care of Anna, her daughter is a beautiful gift from heaven, because the little one teaches her every day to focus on “all of the positives, and the rest just falls into place.”

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“I have learned everything from Anna. To trust myself, to be kind to myself, to wake up every day and try harder than the day before,” Wilklow told the PEOPLE.

“You can choose happiness. It’s really not about what happens in your life, but instead how you choose to move forward,” she continued. “Every morning I wake up and look over at the biggest smile and all I can feel is lucky.”

A GoFundMe, set up for the family in December 2018, has since raised more than US$15,608 for Anna’s care.

Watch the video:

Toddler With Rare Condition Bathes For 4 Hours a Day to Prevent Her Skin from Hardening

A toddler with a rare condition bathes for four hours a day to prevent her skin from hardening.

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