New mum was shocked when her baby was born ‘INSIDE OUT’ – the result of rare condition


New mum Ashlie Fowler, 29, from Greater Manchester, gave birth to baby Koa who has a rare genetic condition called gastroschisis which caused his organs to form outside the body

Ashlie Fowler gave birth to little Koa, who was born with her organs outside her body
Ashlie Fowler gave birth to little Koa, who was born with her organs outside her body

A mum whose baby boy was delivered “inside out” due to a rare condition was “mortified” when she saw her son’s organs outside his body on a scan.

Around four in every ten thousand babies are born with gastroschisis each year, which leaves organs outside of the body.

Ashlie Fowler, 29, was told 12 weeks into her pregnancy that her son – her first child – would be affected by the condition.

But, even though she was prepared, the vehicle technician said she was still stunned when her baby was born.

Incredible pictures show the extent of Koa’s condition – which left him needing to stay in hospital for three weeks after birth.

The baby is now five-weeks-old and is happily living at home near Bury, Greater Manchester with Ashlie and dad Carl, 29.

The condition is ultra-rare and called gastroschisis
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Image:

Ashlie Fowler / SWNS)

The little one had to stay in hospital for several weeks after birth
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Image:

Ashlie Fowler / SWNS)

The mum said: “He’s home now and doing well, he’s home much sooner than he expected to be.

“He’s called Koa, which means fighter or warrior in Hawaiian.

“Me and my partner surf so it’s just a name we’d heard of before, and we named him before we found out what was wrong with him.

“So when we found out it seemed very fitting.

“His weight is the biggest concern because with his bowels on the outside he wasn’t allowed to eat anything for the first week.”

Koa’s name means fighter, or warrior, in Hawaiian
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Image:

Ashlie Fowler / SWNS)

Gastroschisis is a birth defect impacting the abdominal, or belly, wall.

During growth in the womb, the baby fails to properly fuse their anterior body wall together.

And, with the area not properly closed up, organs can soon start to leak out of the body, to the right of the belly button, as they develop.

This can even mean that the stomach and liver escape the body in extreme cases.

Ashlie said: “At my 12-week scan I found out, so I found out quite early on.

“I was mortified, obviously I didn’t know what it was, the scanner just said that the bowel was on the outside and my heart just dropped.

“I had no idea what that meant.

“I’m not at all medically qualified so I didn’t know whether it was worse than how it sounded.

Ashlie said she was “mortified” when she saw the baby’s bowel outside his body
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Image:

Ashlie Fowler / SWNS)

The youngster’s now living back home with his family
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Image:

Ashlie Fowler / SWNS)

“Once I’d started seeing specialists they were quite confident he would be okay.

“We had to go to a specialist hospital, he couldn’t be born in a regular hospital.

“They wanted to just do a natural birth, but he was breached so I had a c-section in the end anyway.

“They look to operate on him within four hours of birth. I had the c-section, and he was immediately put into an incubator and whisked away.

“After he was born they put all his organs into a bag because they don’t want it to dry up or lose heat, or get infected.

“I don’t think he was in any pain, because when I saw him for the first time he was all wrapped up and happy in the incubator.

“I couldn’t hold him straight away as they said he wasn’t stable enough yet, plus I was still getting cleaned up after surgery, but he looked happy in his little hat.”

Koa was essentially fed through a catheter towards his heart for a week after birth, to avoid using his organs too much.

Ashlie added: “He was on morphine for three or four days but after then was just on paracetamol.

“He was only in the hospital for about three or four weeks – which they said was incredible as he was expected to be in for around six.

“If any more of his organs had come out of his body the risk would have started to increase, his stomach could have come out for example and a section of his bladder had already”.

While Ashlie was discharged from hospital quickly, Koa had to remain to gain strength after his operation.

Getting up at quarter to five every day to drive the nearly hour-long journey to hospital, Ashlie spent days with her son by her side as he recovered – often alone.

There were difficult times, with family being unable to visit due to Covid restrictions – but Ashlie was thankful for the amazing work of NHS staff.

She said: “The NHS have been incredible. St Mary’s Hospital was just incredible.

“If it wasn’t for them he wouldn’t be alive right now. They come and check on him every few days too to make sure he’s putting on weight.

“Once Koa was in the ICU that was hard because it was just me and Carl, and he’s obviously had to work to support us, so I was on my own a lot.

“My mum got a lot of phone calls in tears”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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