A miracle baby has defied doctors to survive after she was born with her stomach and intestines — inside her CHEST.
Scans in the womb revealed Penny Parrot had a rare defect which caused her organs to slip through a hole in her diaphragm.
Her parents Holly and Phil were advised to consider an abortion because there was only a 50 per cent chance she would survive due to her crushed lungs.
Penny was born unable to breathe with just half a working lung and was connected to a ventilator before she was whisked off to intensive care.
Surgeons painstakingly relocated her organs during a delicate operation, moving them from her chest cavity into their normal position and plugging the gap.
Miraculously, the tot survived the operation and her tiny lungs started working for themselves and she went home with proud Holly, 25, and Phil, 32.
The couple, from Manley, Cheshire, have released touching photos of Penny’s battle to raise awareness of congenital diaphragmatic hernias which have no known cause.
Music teacher Holly said: “When we found out we tried not to run ahead of ourselves, but there was a possibility that we might not come home with a baby.
“The first two weeks after we found out dragged and it seemed impossible that we would actually get through the next six months and actually enjoy it.
“We felt robbed of a normal pregnancy really. We didn’t know whether to go and buy stuff, to paint the room or even tell people about it or just pretend it wasn’t happening.
“Me and Phil were both mutually decided we would leave it up to the baby whether she was going to make it.
“We pulled our chins up – we had made the decision we were going to carry on so we couldn’t just mope about for the next six months.
“But she was a little fighter and after 28 days in hospital she came home.
“Looking at her now smiling at me and being so happy it’s hard to believe what she has been through.
“She’s the bravest person we know.”
Holly and Phil, who co-owns a timber factory, thought everything was normal until they went to their 20 week scan.
The ultrasound showed a dark mass in her lungs which the medic said was her stomach.
The worried couple discovered their unborn daughter had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) – her bowel and stomach were in the wrong place and crushing her lungs.
They were offered an abortion at 22 weeks, and while they decided against it, refused to buy anything more than the essential baby items in case they “jinxed” the pregnancy.
Pretty Holly said: “The doctor said there was a chance I might not make it to the end of the pregnancy because some of these babies don’t and it’s only 50 per cent survival rate for those that do.
“I was in tears because I thought I can’t give birth to a still born baby, that would absolutely destroy me.
“That was the only bit that makes you think do you want to go through with this or not.
“But we decided and when we decided to carry on we only got the bare essentials in the house – we got a cot, we got a changing mat, we got a couple of little outfits but nothing fancy.
“We didn’t put pictures up or anything.
“The thought of coming home and having lots of baby bits in the house it would just be horrible.
“We just didn’t want to jinx it – you don’t want to assume that you are going to be a lucky one.
“They continually told us that until she got here there was no way they could say ‘yes she will make it’ or ‘no she won’t make it’.”
Holly was induced at Liverpool Women’s Hospital on February 23, surrounded by a team of at least ten medics who swooped as soon as Penny was born, unable to breathe.
“She came out and they pulled her up onto my chest only for about three seconds – just enough time for Phil to cut the cord,” said Penny.
“She went into the cot next to us and they all crowded around her – about ten people in there – and all working away on her trying to inflate her lungs with a tube down her throat.
“Apparently it took four minutes but it felt like the longest wait in the world.”
She was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she endured a four-hour operation at just four days old, to move her organs to the correct place.
The operation gave Penny’s lungs room to grow and after a month in hospital she came home where she thrived, and already the 14-week-old’s lung capacity has doubled.
“The lungs keep growing until after puberty so she’s got plenty of time to catch up now,” said Holly.
“She is thriving, she’s put on weight and she’s doing amazing.
“I don’t think she has got any idea what she has been through.”
June is CDH awareness month.
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