No mother would normally let their 10-month-old baby go on a trip 9,000 miles the world, but for one Ivory Coast mother, it was the only way her baby girl would ever live a normal life.
10-month-old Dominique was born with four legs and two spines after her twin died in utero and was absorbed by Dominique’s body leaving the baby with an extra spine and two legs that protruded from her neck. Not only did it make physical movement hard, but it began putting a strain on the baby’s heart and lungs and it was clear the extra limbs were putting her in danger.
Ohio-based charity Children’s Medical Mission West reached out to the family, raised funds to fly Dominique to Illinois, and even found her a loving foster family to stay with. “If you can say love at first sight, I think that’s true for us,” said Nancy Swabb, who has been fostering baby Dominique since she arrived in February. “When we met sweet Dominique she came on three flights to get here. She came with an escort from American Airlines and we thought about her family far, far away trusting us, trusting the doctors they had never met, trusting the escort who flew her half way across the world.”
“She was so sweet and so ready to accept love and be affectionate and show affection,” Swabb said. “We knew that she was loved. We thought every day, every moment about her family waiting for her return, and we just feel really honored to be her family for a little while.”
And on March 8, Five surgeons and 50 clinicians performed a risky six-hour surgery to remove the extra limbs and finally give Dominique a chance at a normal life. “She wasn’t able to do some of the things that normal little kids do, like turn over and sit up and all those types of things. Now that we have removed her parasitic twin, she is a more normal girl,” pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Givens Kellogg said.
“She has full mobility. She is doing what a 10-month-old can do. She’s moving her toes and fingers,” said Swabb, who is still caring for Dominique until she is well enough to make the journey back to her family where she can finally enjoy a normal childhood.
Can you believe these doctors managed to perform such a complicated and risky surgery? Let us know what you think in the comments below and please SHARE this with friends on Facebook.
[Featured image: Advocate Children’s Hospital]