When a couple is expecting a child, they’re thrilled and anxious. They’re often excited, but nervous about what is to come.
In most cases, a baby is safely delivered – but in some, the unthinkable happens.
Jennie Wilklow’s pregnancy experience had been, for the most part, quite normal.
Her baby looked fine in all scans, and she and her husband were eager to await the birth of their baby girl.
But then, at week 34 of Jennie’s pregnancy, complications resulted in the need for an emergency C-section.
Jennie’s daughter began to cry as soon as she was born, and the nurses smiled and said she was beautiful.
Then, within just seconds, the mood in the room completely shifted.
Jennie’s daughter’s skin had begun to change, becoming completely hard.
The hard skin started to crack, and the poor baby was soon completely covered in open wounds.
Doctors rushed to assure Jennie that they would do everything they could to help her baby, and the new mom was then sedated so she would sleep.
When she awoke, doctors informed her of what they had found. Her daughter, Anna, had a rare condition known as Harlequin ichthyosis.
Jennie turned to her husband, and he was completely silent for several moments before saying, in panic, “This is bad”, over and over again.
Harlequin ichthyosis is a type of defect of the genes that results in skin grown of approximately 14 times faster than it is supposed to.
It can affect facial features such as the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears, and it leads to widespread redness all over the body.
Even more tragically, most babies born with the condition pass away within a few days.
The good news was that those who survive their crucial early days of life will carry on to have a normal life expectancy, though their lives may be riddled with potential complications.
They may have delayed motor skill development and suffer more difficulties as life goes on.
For the next two days, Jennie read up all she could on Anna’s condition.
She realized that little Anna would experience poor life quality and face a lot of challenges in her life.
In that moment of confusion, pain, and loneliness, Jennie couldn’t help wondering if it would be better for her daughter if she didn’t survive.
Thankfully, those moments passed, and soon Anna was on the road to recovery.
She survived the terrifying ordeal and was able to come home with her mom and dad.
It was a difficult time, and Anna had to be coated in petroleum jelly ever two hours, and she had to be bathed for many, many hours of the day.
Anna turned out to be a strong fighter, and she changed Jennie’s thoughts and perspectives completely.
Jennie realized she could not create mental restrictions in her head of what Anna could and couldn’t achieve in her lifetime, or else she may never achieve her full potential.
Jennie set new goals for herself and for Anna – and that goal was that Anna would be able to do anything she wanted, and for Jennie to be there with her and do the same!
Together, this family will take on the world!