A UK family was almost certain they’d lose their baby, but it was her giggle that filled them with hope.
When she turned 2 years old, Poppy Smith underwent a hypoxic brain injury which left her with slim chances for survival. If she somehow defied the odds and lived, it would come with massive developmental issues.
According to an interview in The Daily Mail with her 34-year-old father Stephen Smith, everything changed when they heard Little Poppy giggling loudly. Her older sister, Macy, 12, blew on her belly which sparked laughter from the sick Poppy, laughter that filled her parents with a sense of hope that she would walk and speak again.
Poppy was born eleven weeks early and weighed in at just two pounds. The first three months of her life took place inside a neonatal chamber and she was soon diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome. This rare neurological disorder is characterized by weakness or paralysis of multiple cranial nerves, but usually the facial nerves. To learn more about Moebius Syndrome, click here.
A few days before Poppy’s second birthday, her mother Amy, entered her room to find her having difficulty breathing. Her eyes were rolling back and an X-ray later revealed that her lungs were drowning in fluid. The seizures and epileptic attacks followed, which continued to deteriorate her frail system.
When asked if she would ever walk or talk again, the doctors said they weren’t sure if she would even live long.
But on Christmas Day, the family gathered around Poppy’s bedside to exchange gifts and keep each other company. Poppy’s giggles filled the room and with it, came an answer.
“They said she would not walk or talk, but she started walking at 15 months, which is quite unbelievable for an early baby,” said Stephen. “It was amazing to see her do all these things. We managed to remove her from the feeding tube around her first birthday, and in 2016 it was getting better.”
What followed were small movements in her arms and legs that the doctors said might be spine reflexes, but soon grew into normal movement.