When Clare and Dane Rowe of Newcastle, Australia had their 12-week ultrasound, it was clear that something was really wrong with their new child. Devastation struck when doctors informed the couple during a 12-week ultrasound that their child had serious complications. Doctors had their doubts that the child would survive birth, but baby Azalea proved everyone wrong.
Clare, 26, and Dane Rowe, 27, had been trying to get pregnant for over a year when they found out they were having their first baby. “They told me she wasn’t compatible for life, I can only describe it as heartbreak,” said Clare in an interview with Daily Mail Australia.
Clare added that, “I’m not one to play God but knowing she would have birth defects didn’t make me love her any less.”
But Claire says “I knew I wanted to fight for her.” And on July 28, 2016, baby Azalea beat the odds and was successfully delivered.
Here she is being greeting by her loving parents.
Azalea was born with a rare condition where many vital organs were on the outside of her body.
Parts of her stomach, bowel, gall bladder, and her liver were contained in the umbilical cord outside of her body. This resulted from her abdominal muscles not forming properly in utero, a birth defect known as omphalocele.
But there was another aspect of Azalea’s condition that would weigh on Clare immensely.
Due to the fact that Azalea’s organs were being protected by a thin membrane, her parents couldn’t hold her at first. Any form of contact with their child could not be skin-to-skin.
Not only were they not able to hold their new baby, they had to watch baby Azalea starve. ‘We weren’t allowed to feed her for her first four days,” said Clare. The thin layer protecting her organs could break if Azalea fed.
Little Azalea had to lay on her back for more than four months to promote healing and initially had trouble feeding.
Many of her nutrients needed to be delivered directly into her stomach.
Azalea was accompanied by her mother for nine long weeks before the sac holding her organs was strong enough for her to go home.
It was during this time that the new parents needed to learn how to care for the dressing on Azalea’s abdomen.
Azalea’s condition improved to the point that she could finally make skin-to-skin contact with her parents.
Here is a photo showing Azalea with her father, skin-to-skin for the first time.
Azalea has come a long way since her complicated birth. While her organs were technically still outside of her body, she was stable enough to make the journey home.
Let’s see her now…
Here is baby Azalea now!
How adorable is she, right?
Azalea is developing at a normal rate despite her late arrival at home. “Every time I see her do something new I want to take her back to the hospital and say ‘Look! She is compatible with life’,” said Clare.
Azalea even recently ate solid food for the first time!
You have to see the rest of Azalea’s cute home pictures! She looks like she’s having a blast…
It’s clear that she is really enjoying life at home. Over time, Azalea’s organs will be enclosed inside of her body.
But for now, she still gets regular visits from nurses at home to attend to her.
Clare is also telling her daughter’s incredible story to raise awareness for World Omphalocele Awareness Day on January 31.
While Azalea is thriving and having a great time at home, she will have another surgery to be sure all of her organs are properly contained when she is two.
For now, she’s having a blast.
Here’s to Azalea having a quick and healthy recovery!