Adalynn Willett is unlike any other 2-year-old in Texas.
She was born with her intestines and liver outside her body and stayed at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth for 850 days. There the toddler underwent 28 surgeries, one for every month she has been alive, The New York Daily News and local Texas station WFAA-TV are reporting.
Willett was born with omphalocele, a rare birth defect in which the intestines or other abdominal organs stick outside of the navel. The intestines, covered by a thin layer of tissue, can be easily seen. The National Institute of Health states that the hernia affects only one out of every 5,386 babies born in the U.S. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, several studies have investigated the relationship of ethnicity in risk for omphalocele but failed to find any effect.
Willett was discharged Tuesday and allowed to go home in Abilene with her parents, Bryan Willett and Serafina Sevallos.
“I still don’t believe she’s here,” said her father to the newspaper. “We knew before she was born it was going to be like that (the medical complications). We thought she was going to be in the hospital for three months and it ended up 850 days.”
Willett also told the publication his daughter survived “a month where she was going for surgery practically every other day.” Her heart stopped twice, but recovered successfully.
In addition, the child was also “the first baby in America to wear an ABRA (Abdominal Wall Closure),” said Willett. “It’s a wound closing device. I think that’s pretty amazing.”
The toddler’s condition was discovered by doctors when she was still in the womb and has since battled many infections. The Texas Department of State Health Services reveals omphalocele is usually discovered during pregnancy. In addition, infants born with this condition have a higher chance of additional birth defects and a lower survival rate.
In the case of the Texas tot, she is expected to continue recovering. While she’s already had a feeding tube inserted, the parents are looking forward to celebrating the upcoming festivities together.
“We are very grateful that she could come home before the holidays,” said Willett. “It was the best Christmas present we could ever ask for.”