When Ben and Alyssa Reidhead’s unborn son – William – was diagnosed with encephalocele, the couple prepared for their child’s funeral.
The rare condition involves a skull that does not completely close as the fetus grows in the mother’s womb. This causes the brain to grow outside of the skull. Only half of the 10,000 babies born with encephalocele in the United States survive.
But against all odds, William was born this week alive and kicking. The newborn baby weighed a little over six pounds and is able to breathe on his own.
"Today we were supposed to mourn the death of our child," Alyssa Reidhead wrote on her blog. "But instead we spent four glorious hours with him, holding him, playing with him, reading to him, and loving him."
The couple found out about their unborn child’s condition during their visit to a doctor to check the baby’s sex. It was Alyssa’s 20th week of pregnancy.
"We were going in for one of the happiest times of our lives and come out walking like we just heard the worst news we could've ever heard," Ben Reidhead told KSTU.
The doctors told the couple that baby William will be born but will only survive for a couple of minutes. Some doctors even told them that the baby will die during labor.
Fortunately, baby William was able to defy the odds. Despite having encephalocele, William is now recovering in the intensive care unit for newborn babies. He will probably grow up with special needs, but his parents are ready to love him and take care of him through it all.
"Take life one day at a time. Today, I am going to enjoy the fact that my sweet baby is alive and with me," Alyssa wrote. Family members have also started a GoFund me page in order to raise money for baby William’s medical bills and supplies.