Baby Wrapped in Plastic to Save Her Life

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to hear that there is something wrong with your unborn baby. For those of us who have never heard this, it must feel like a fully loaded tractor-trailer running us over. But a couple in the east of England had to endure that exact situation during their 12 week checkup.

Fran and Paul Groves were told that something in the ultrasound wasn’t quite right. It turns out that their baby girl was suffering from a condition called gastroschisis. In essence, baby Sydney’s intestines were stuck outside of her abdomen.

Gastroschisis is relatively rare, occurring in only one out of every 2,000 births according to some sources. The intestines can push through the stomach wall, usually near the belly button. For some babies, nearly the entire intestine can be protruding. For other babies, only a small portion of the intestine is protruding. This condition is usually treated with surgery.

In Sydney’s case, the doctors decided to use gravity and medical grade plastic cling wrap. She was taken from the delivery room and wrapped in the film. During the following days, the doctors reduced the size of the wrap. Gravity worked with the wrap to gently push the intestines back inside her abdomen.

The doctors waited a few days after her intestines disappeared inside her stomach before they stitched the opening closed, then monitored her to make sure she was ingesting and defecating properly. Over the following four weeks, Sydney successfully ate on her own and started gaining weight. Her parents were able to stay in a nearby housing facility available to parents dealing with a critically ill child. At the end of those four weeks, Sydney was finally able to go home for the first time.

Almost exactly a year later, Fran describes her daughter as “wonderful” and a “little star”. What else would you expect from the mother of a one year old?

Click here to learn more about how you can donate to foundations that allow parents to stay close to their children in the hospital. 

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