A family in Cork has called their baby girl a “miracle” as she continues to thrive despite being diagnosed with a rare condition while in the womb, leading doctors to claim she would not survive. The grandparents of baby Megan Hope Byrne shared her story with a local paper earlier this week, telling how their prayers had been answered, baby Megan survived and is now 13 months old.
Patricia and Timothy O’Mahoney’s daugher, Janice, was told when she was only 14 weeks along in the pregnancy that there seemed to be complications with the baby’s head. “Each scan she got was worse news. They gave us no hope,” said Janice’s mother, Patricia. Janice was even told that she could lose the baby. But the baby had a strong heart and despite an emergency Caesarean section six weeks before she was due, she survived, but still had a long journey ahead of her.
Megan was born with a cleft palate and diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. She is one of only seventeen children worldwide with the condition of Holoprosencephaly (HPE), which prevents the foetal brain from growing forward and dividing, as it is supposed to during early pregnancy. "She was grey in the face. She was definitely dying. We expected the worst and had even been talking about where we were burying her. It was awful. There was no coming back. We were in bits in the corridor," said Patricia. "We couldn't believe what happened next. She started to suck on the doctor's finger so she was rushed upstairs and put in the baby unit. It was a case of waiting every hour then."
Megan was sent home a week later for palliative care, as doctors were sure she could not survive her overwhelming condition. Doctors inserted a shunt in her skull in September 2010 to help clear the fluid in her head that had built up due to pressure. “She looked so bad, worse than what she actually was. When the fluid was in her head she couldn't move and was vomiting. Once the fluid was drained, she'd be fine," said Patricia. Doctors at Temple Street Hospital were unsure of the outcome and were blown away by her state at an appointment the following day. "She was fantastic (after that). Her mobility improved and she started getting way brighter," explained Patricia. Megan did fall ill due to complications with her shunt at Christmas time, but has been recovering steadily since her shunt was replaced.
Little Megan Hope Byrne turned 13 months old this week and had her cleft palate operation just three weeks ago. Additionally, she had bone taken from her toe for her thumb, as she was born missing two fingers and four of her toes.
She was given a new thumb, cheekbones and new eyelids and her nose was reconstructed. "We thought we would be waiting for months. But the doctor only saw her first five weeks ago. She's a miracle. Every time we thought she was gone, she came right back.” "The doctors and nurses are baffled by her. She was spoon feeding at three months, even though she had no palate," she continued. "For a child that we were looking for a grave for, now she's calling us,” said Patricia. “The future looks great. I'm not holy, but I said so many prayers. She's our little miracle and we're so grateful for all the support from family, friends and neighbours.”