When expectant parents Mary and William Sargent headed to the doctor for Mary's 19-week checkup, they were told their daughter had developed a rare medical condition called gastroschisis. Gastroschisis occurs when the abdomen forms incorrectly, and results in some body parts to form outside of the abdomen instead of internally.
In the Sargent's case, their unborn baby's internal organs, including her stomach, were growing outside of her body.
As a result, Mary was closely watched throughout her pregnancy and the medical team at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, were ready for the baby's birth. Elliotte Sargent weighed 6 pounds when she was born, after Mary went through 42 hours of labor.
The baby girl was born with her fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowels, and stomach on the outside of her body. She was taken away for surgery within minutes of her birth.
Mary told the Daily Mail:
“As soon as she was born she was popped in a see-through trash bag, so her organs weren’t exposed to air. Before I even had a chance to hold her, she was whisked for surgery.”
The operation that saved Elliotte's life lasted two hours. However, not all of her organs would fit back inside the baby during her initial surgery. As a result, the body parts that were still exposed were placed in a plastic bag on top of her until the baby was ready for the next procedure.
The Mirror reports that Elliotte had her next surgery eight days later. At that point, her organs were placed back inside her body and her stomach was closed.
It was a huge moment for her parents, who could now hold their baby for the first time.
Mary recalled the moment she was finally able to hold her child:
"It was an awesome moment. Completely wonderful. And in November she came home, it was wonderful, walking out of hospital with her.”
After 63 days in the hospital, Mary and William were finally able to take their little girl home. Elliotte was sent home a healthy baby, weighing 8 pounds.
As Mary reported on the family's GoFundMe page, Elliotte is now a happy and healthy baby girl, and Mary and William are still in awe of her:
“She’s my miracle,” Mary said. “I wouldn’t be without her.”