A Missouri baby born without a skull has defied all expectations and has lived to celebrate his first birthday. This bright news comes despite the young Masterson being born with a rare condition that usually offers up a prognosis of severely curtailed longevity, with most subjects living just a few months.
As KTTS-TV reports, Jessica Masterson was 27 weeks pregnant when she learned that her baby, then in utero, would be born with alcalvaria. The extremely rare condition causes the baby to develop in the womb without a skull. Those born with the malformation rarely live more than a few months.
Doctors offered Masterson and her husband, Tom, the opportunity to terminate her pregnancy, Tom says via the Mirror.
“[The doctors said] he won’t be compatible with life. He will not survive this.”
The Mastersons, however, wouldn’t hear of terminating Jessica’s pregnancy. They opted to see her pregnancy through, and to let their faith take care of the rest.
On September 13, 2017, Jessica went into labor. A team at Springfield’s Mercy Hospital was convened — a team which included counselors to help prepare Jessica for the worst. However, against all odds, Owen Masterson survived his birth.
“He was crying. We were very, very excited to hear that.”
Still, the family had gone into the hospital that day expecting to only have a few hours, if not minutes, with their son — even saying their goodbyes to him when they had the chance. But the minutes turned to hours, and the hours turned to days — and it was obvious that the resilient young lad would, at the very least, survive his birth.
In fact, the boy defied all odds and has just celebrated his first birthday.
Even though he has beaten the odds and has lived to see his first birthday party, the outlook is far from rosy for Owen. He still has alcalvaria, and he always will. That means that he will live for the rest of his life without a skull above his ears, leaving his eyes and brain with little protection.
“It’s definitely challenging, but I wouldn’t change him. I love him the way he is.”
Meanwhile, hospice nurses are providing occupational and physical therapy to the young boy. His parents believe he can see, somewhat, and believe that he can hear as well. They say that he smiles, laughs, and even mimics voices.
Alcalvaria affects less than one in 100,000 births, according to Orphanet.