When complications are found during the 20-week pregnancy scan, it can be quite disheartening for parents and extended family alike. In some cases, the complications are minor and resolve themselves before birth (or can be fixed with simple surgery postpartum). For others, the complications will affect the quality of life of both the parents and their unborn child. For those scans that show major complications, such as a missing vital organ, parents are often forced to choose between termination or giving the child a fighting chance even if the road will be long and hard on everyone. One family chose to go with giving their child a chance even though doctors advised against it. Needless to say, the child shocked everyone.
Little Frankie Shopland was born with one lung, one kidney, and his heart was on the right side of his chest cavity instead of his left. During the 20-week scan, his mother Amie recalls that halfway through, the technician just got up and left the room. That is when the parents knew something was amiss. "We sat in another little room and we waited for someone to come in and she said, 'On the scan, it shows the baby has only got one kidney and the heart is on the right side'," says Amie.
When the doctor offered to terminate the pregnancy, both parents immediately said "No." Amie says that "all [they] kept thinking was 'it's his choice'. If his heart was functioning fine and there was no sign of any other problem, give him the chance. And that's what [they] did." It was three weeks later that the parents also found out their baby only had one lung too. At the same time, Amie was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. When Amie reached 29 weeks, she found out the baby was in distress.
Born via emergency c-section, baby Frankie weighed a mere 1lb 13oz and had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Despite having the odds stacked against them, his parents knew he would pull through. "We knew he was going to be a special baby. And he is," they said. After nine days on ventilation in the NICU, The Sun reports that baby Frankie was able to breathe on his own. As positive as his parents tried to be, they knew the complications for Frankie were only just beginning.
In November of 2016, two months after Frankie was discharged after his three-month NICU stay, he was rushed to hospital after turning grey. Doctors determined he had bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and that he had developed a narrow airway leading to where his absent lung should have been.
Frankie, who is now three-years-old, has been in and out of the hospital his entire life and is unable to speak or drink but his parents hope he will improve with time. After seeing everything that Frankie has been through, his parents are just taking it one day at a time without any expectations. Each day that goes by, they are thankful they get to spend it with him because he has been nothing short of a miracle and a blessing.