Clare and Dane Rowe of Newcastle, Australia were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their baby girl, when they got some upsetting news at their 12-week ultrasound scan. Doctors had found a serious complication with the baby, and doubted that it would even survive birth. Thankfully, baby Azalea was going to prove everyone wrong.
Clare and Dane Rowe had been trying to get pregnant for a year when they finally succeeded. "They told me she wasn't compatible for life, I can only describe it as heartbreak," says Clare.
Clare knew she wanted to fight for her though, and on July 28, 2016, baby Azalea was born into the world.
She was born with a rare condition where many of her vital organs were outside of her body.
There was, however, another aspect of Azalea's condition that troubled Clare immensely.
Since Azalea's organs had to be protected by a thin membrane, her parents couldn't initially hold her and get that crucial skin-to-skin contact.
For four long months, she laid on her back, often getting nutrients pumped directly into her stomach.
It took nine weeks for Azalea's organ sac to become strong enough to go home, and her parents had to learn how to dress and care for her abdomen.
Her condition eventually improved enough to allow skin-to-skin contact.
Azalea's come a long way since, and though her organs are still technically outside her body, she was able to go home and start growing up.
Here she is!
Awwwww!! So cute!
Today, Azalea is developing at a normal rate. "Every time I see her do something new I want to take her back to the hospital and say 'Look! She is compatible with life'," says Clare.
Azalea is loving life at home. Eventually, her organs will become fully enclosed inside her body.
Clare is sharing her daughter's story to raise awareness for World Omphalocele Awareness Day on January 31.
When Azalea turns two, she'll have another surgery to have her organs properly contained. Until then, she's just enjoying being a baby!
Here's hoping she has a speedy recovery!
Be sure to SHARE Azalea's story with your family and friends.