Giving birth is always a trying experience for everyone involved. Still, the pressure and anxiety around the event is even more intense when the health of the child is at risk. One extreme example of this was with a baby boy four years ago named Noah Wall who was born with a severe birth defect caused by hydrocephalus. As a result of the disorder, he came out of his mother’s womb with a swollen head and almost no brain.
Before she gave birth, doctors warned Shelly that Noah likely wouldn’t survive long after he was born and that even if he did, his quality of life would be incredibly low. They even advised Shelly to terminate the pregnancy rather than risk having a child who would either not survive or live the rest of its life in pain.
Still, Shelly wanted to see her child into the world no matter what the risk was. She had faith that things would turn out as they should. As expected, Noah was born with 98% of his brain nonfunctional as a result of fluid damage from his hydrocephalus. But what happened next was a miracle. Despite his seemingly irreversible condition, Noah’s brain gradually started to grow itself back. Although his developmental process took longer than with a child without his health issues, he was still able to learn how to talk and at age four had a brain that was essentially the same as other children his age.
While he still faces extreme health complications as a result of spina bifida, Noah’s is a one in a million situation that will be used around the country as a teaching case. He will also be the subject of a BBC documentary about his incredible recovery called The Boy With No Brain. Stories like these remind us not to be cynical and to open our hearts and minds to the possibilities of the world. Though Shelly’s decision to follow through with her pregnancy was an enormous risk, doing so paid off immensely and resulted in an inspirational story for millions around the world—and in granting a little boy a chance at a full life.