Even with part of his brain outside of his head, seven-week-old Nhel Jhon Prado is a bundle of joy.
Nhel was born in Manila, Philippines with encephalocele, a rare condition in which the skull fails to fuse completely in the womb, allowing part of the brain to protrude from the gap, Daily Mail reports. Nhel’s growth juts from the top of his head, and it prompted his mother, 20-year-old Angel Puerto, to give him a nickname.
“We have never seen a baby like this before, so we try to look at it like a blessing,” she said. “Like he is a special little unicorn baby.”
Angel and the baby’s father, Ronel Prado, also 20, must give Nhel 24-hour care to monitor his condition. Ronel remarked on the lump’s size, saying, “’The swelling has grown so quickly it’s hard to believe. It has doubled in size in just a few weeks.”
The couple did not know about Nhel’s condition until after he was born. But Nhel is blessed that his condition is benign.
Angel said, “The doctors used ultrasound tests but didn’t notice anything wrong with Nhel while I was pregnant.” She continued, “When he was born they said my baby is lucky that the brain was not affected or damaged by the lumps.”
The couple awaits surgery that would remove the growth at Pasig General Hospital.
Angel noted: “We still don’t know yet how to pay the medical bills. We just have to figure that out once the operation is done, but for now, our priority is to get him the surgery.”
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Ronel and Angel are fighting for their baby, and even so, they love him as he is.
Ronel said, “I would like to see my boy get older so I can play soccer with him like other children do. He deserves that, he’s so beautiful.”
Nhel’s condition is extremely rare. RareDiseases.org reports around 1.7 per 10,000 babies in the United Kingdom are born with encephalocele.
The article continues: “Encephalocele treatment in most cases is surgery to put the part of the brain that is outside the skull back into place and close the opening. Neurosurgeons often can repair even large encephaloceles without causing the baby to lose further ability to function.”
This optimism has not been shared in many cases of encephalocele in the United States. Life News previously reported reality star Jennifer Snowden was given no chance of survival for her son, who was four months old at the time of the report.
Life News also reported in 2016 that 10-month-old Bentley was born with encephalocele, and his parents were told that he had no chance of survival after birth.
Sadly, one report noted that 85 percent of mothers who detect encephalocele in their unborn children choose abortion.
But Ronel and Angel know that their baby boy has intrinsic value despite his condition.