A recent article from The Sun told the story of how a husband was forced to make an impossible choice between his wife and unborn child after she prematurely gave birth to their son when battling pneumonia and the flu.
A Premature Birth
Baby Alfie was born three months prematurely, causing him to weigh only 2lb 13oz. Immediately after being born, he was rushed off to the intensive care unit where he would spend 10 weeks fighting for his life.
Emma Clay, Alfie’s mother, was meanwhile fighting for her own life while also worrying about her son’s. She contracted pneumonia and the flu which had made her give birth earlier than expected. Due to her condition and her son’s fight for survival, her husband was made to sign papers deciding who to save if it came down to it. Thankfully, both Clay and her son survived, but was still struggling with her condition after giving birth.
“I was in a horrible state and just felt I couldn’t breathe. I thought I wouldn’t have long in this world but I wanted to fight for Alfie,” said Clay.
As Clay started the long road to recovery, Alfie was diagnosed with a rare condition called craniosynostosis.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which one or more of the fibrous joints between the bones of the baby’s skull close prematurely, before it has been fully formed. However, brain growth still continues, giving the head a misshapen appearance. There are several types of craniosynostosis:
- Sagittal: Premature fusion of the sagittal suture that runs from the front to the back at the top of the skull forces the head to grow long and narrow. The most common type of craniosynostosis.
- Coronal: Premature fusion of one of the coronal sutures (unicoronal) that run from each ear to the top of the skull may cause the baby’s forehead to flatten on the affected side and bulge on the unaffected side. It also leads to turning of the nose and elevation of the eye socket on the affected side.
- Metopic: The metopic suture runs from the top of the bridge of the nose up through the midline of the forehead to the anterior fontanel or soft spot and the sagittal suture. Premature fusion gives the forehead a triangular appearance and widens the back part of the head.
- Lambdoid: Involves the lambdoid suture, which runs across the skull at the back of the head. It may cause one side of the baby’s head to appear flat, one ear to be higher than the other ear and tilting of the top of the head to one side.The rarest type of craniosynostosis.
- A misshapen skull, with the shape depending on which of the sutures are affected
- An abnormal feeling or disappearing fontanel on the baby’s skull
- Development of a raised, hard ridge along affected sutures
- Slow or no growth of the head as the baby grows
Due to Alfie’s condition, he had to have major head surgery immediately after being diagnosed due to the risks of craniosynostosis. Thankfully, the surgery was a great success and Alfie was soon on his way to being a healthy little boy. At five-years-old now, he is living a happy and carefree life.
“He’s developing very nicely now and his condition doesn’t affect him one bit,” his mother said. “He lives the life any five-year-old should.”