WARNING: This article contains medical images which some readers may find upsetting
A mum was left shocked after her baby was born with a condition meaning he was 'inside out'.
Ashlie Fowler, 29, was 12 weeks pregnant with her first child when she was told he had a condition called gastroschisis, which affects around four in every 10,000 babies and leaves them with their organs on the outside of their body.
Despite being given the news during her pregnancy, Ashlie and her partner Carl, 29, were stunned when the baby, who they named Koa, was born.
Following the birth, little Koa had to spend three weeks in hospital, but is now home with his family.
Ashlie said: "He's home now and doing well, he's home much sooner than he expected to be.
"He's called Koa, which means fighter or warrior in Hawaiian.
"Me and my partner surf so it's just a name we'd heard of before, and we named him before we found out what was wrong with him.
"So when we found out it seemed very fitting.
"His weight is the biggest concern because with his bowels on the outside he wasn't allowed to eat anything for the first week."
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal, or belly, wall.
During growth in the womb, the baby fails to properly fuse their anterior body wall together.
And, with the area not properly closed up, organs can soon start to leak out of the body, to the right of the belly button, as they develop.
Ashlie was told quite early on, at her 12 week scan, but didn’t fully understand what it meant.
She explained: "I'm not at all medically qualified so I didn't know whether it was worse than how it sounded.
"Once I'd started seeing specialists they were quite confident he would be okay.
"We had to go to a specialist hospital, he couldn't be born in a regular hospital.
"They wanted to just do a natural birth, but he was breached so I had a C-section in the end anyway.
"They look to operate on him within four hours of birth. I had the C-section, and he was immediately put into an incubator and whisked away.
"After he was born they put all his organs into a bag because they don't want it to dry up or lose heat, or get infected.
"I don't think he was in any pain, because when I saw him for the first time he was all wrapped up and happy in the incubator.
"I couldn't hold him straight away as they said he wasn't stable enough yet, plus I was still getting cleaned up after surgery, but he looked happy in his little hat."
Ashlie has praised the hard work and dedication of the hospital staff who looked after Koa.
She said: "The NHS have been incredible. St Mary's Hospital was just incredible.
"If it wasn't for them he wouldn't be alive right now. They come and check on him every few days too to make sure he's putting on weight.
"Once Koa was in the ICU that was hard because it was just me and Carl, and he's obviously had to work to support us, so I was on my own a lot.
"My mum got a lot of phone calls in tears".
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
Topics: UK News