The doctors kept trying to persuade Shelly Wall to terminate her pregnancy.
As the New York Post reports, the mom of three from Cumbria, England, was pregnant with son Noah when she got the bad news. Tests indicated that her unborn baby had hydrocephalus, a condition where excessive fluid accumulates in the brain. According to the doctors, her baby had not developed a brain and was unlikely to survive.
“Before he was born, they gave me the option of a termination five times. We got taken into a room, and they drew a circle saying, ‘This brain will only be half a brain.'”
The Walls were warned that their son had spina bifida and was unlikely to live. If he did survive, he would be profoundly disabled and unable to eat, talk, hear, or see. But the Walls still refused to terminate.
Rob told “Good Morning Britain” that they were determined to give their son a chance:
“We were older parents. If younger people were offered that choice, they may have felt pressured to go through with it, but we know our own minds, and we are positive people. We wanted to give Noah the chance of life.”
Noah was born via cesarean section — a week earlier than expected because doctors were concerned about the pressure on the baby’s brain.
“We waited with bated breath, as they put a non-resuscitation notice on Noah,” Shelly recalled. But then the baby let out a powerful cry. His mother says that was the first sign that there was more to her son than they had thought.
At birth, Noah only had 2 percent of a brain. He was fitted with a shunt and underwent treatment for his spina bifida. Then, when he was 3 years old, a test indicated something unprecedented had happened: Noah’s brain had “grown” to the point that he had 80 percent of a brain.
Now age 6, Noah has continued to develop. His parents have taken him to Australia to see specialists at a cutting-edge brain training center. There, Noah learned to sit up, and his next goals are to learn how to walk and even surf.
Doctors can’t explain how Noah’s brain was able to “grow back.” Rob told “Good Morning Britain”:
“It’s a very emotive subject. Some people say you can’t grow a brain. Other people say it must have always been there. But if it was and squashed up it would have been so severely damaged he would have been very mentally and physically disabled.”
Doctors readily admit that Noah’s recovery is “extraordinary.” Shelly told the News & Star that she hopes Noah’s story can be an inspiration to others:
“A lesson can be learned here all on its own, then there’s the message that Noah can send out to other children that may not have had the best start out in life, that miracles can happen and anything is possible.”