Springfield baby born without skull turns 1 year old

10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Saturday, October 27 2018 Oct 27, 2018 Saturday, October 27, 2018 12:50:00 PM CDT October 27, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield baby born without a skull or facial bones has turned 1 year old this month, far outliving what doctors predicted for a child born with the extremely rare malformation.

Jessica and Tom Masterson were told by doctors that their baby likely wouldn't survive the pregnancy, but despite all odds, their son Owen was born on Sept. 13, 2017. Owen Masterson is among the few cases where a child has survived more than a few hours with alcalvaria, a condition that has led to Owen having no skull above his eyebrow and ears to protect his brain, the Springfield News-Leader reported .

Jessica Masterson was 27 weeks pregnant when doctors diagnosed her child with alcalvaria. Doctors told the couple that terminating the pregnancy under these circumstances was an option. But the Mastersons declined, instead opting for hope and prayer that their child would survive.

"We've been chosen to have him," Tom Masterson said. "So we are going to do everything we can to love him as long as we get to have him."

The Mastersons met with a care team of various medical professionals at Mercy Hospital in Springfield to prepare for whatever may happen to their son. The couple was prepared for the worst outcome when Jessica Masterson went into labor.

Owen was born about two hours after the Mastersons arrived at the hospital.

"He was crying," Jessica Masterson said. "We were very, very excited to hear that."

The couple prepared to spend just minutes with Owen, holding him and telling him goodbye, but hours passed and then Owen survived through the first night.

The Mastersons later brought Owen home, and cared for him with the help of hospice nurses.

Today, Owen has no mobility. He undergoes occupational and physical therapy, in addition to seeing a nutritionist, a speech therapist, an orthoptist and a pediatric neurologist.

Owen has passed a hearing test and the family believes he can see up close. Owen's parents said he smiles, laughs and often mimics familiar voices.

"It's definitely challenging, but I wouldn't change him," Jessica Masterson said. "I love him the way he is."

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