SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- A Springfield baby born with a rare medical condition is now on the road to recovery after a major surgery for a rare birth defect called “craniosynostosis.”
Back in July 2011, NewsSource 16 introduced you to a 7 month old baby named Gabriella Todd. At two months old Gabriella was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a premature fusion of the bones making up the skull.
(Read NewsSource 16's original story at the following link: http://www.kmtr.com/news/local/story/Springfield-parents-warn-others-about-babys/-WOxZxGhYkeSbiDOjVe_IA.cspx.)
Now 11 months old, Gabriella is talking, walking, and by all accounts, she's thriving. All of this just three weeks after a traumatic operation on Halloween weekend, where doctors reshaped her head in order to reset her skull and keep her from any harm as she continues to grow.
With a big smile, it's hard to tell that just three weeks ago Gabriella Todd was in the hospital.
“Not knowing what the outcome will be or how she'll handle it,” says Eric Todd, Gabriella's dad.
“It's been pretty overwhelming, you don't have a lot of other people you can draw from,” says Theresa Todd, Gabriella's mom.
At just two months in to Gabriella's life, Eric and Theresa noticed a problem with Gabriella's face.
With a flat spot on her face, the Todd's took Gabriella in for an x-ray and confirmed their suspicions.
“Those sutures.. Don't fuse together until you're between 20 to 30 years old,” says Theresa, pointing to an x-ray of Gabriella's skull.
Through the x-ray, doctors found that a few of the bone plates in Gabriella's skull had fused together before she was born. The condition, craniosynostosis, effects about 1 in every 2,000 babies.
Without treatment, the condition can lead to sight and hearing loss among other serious developmental issues.
“Early morning of the 27th, is when we had to take her in,” says Eric.
On October 27th, 2011, Gabriella was given over to the care of doctors in Seattle where they put her under the knife. Doctors broken several of the bones in Gabriella's skull.
After about 4 hours, seeing her for the first time, the Todd's had a mixture of emotions.
“We were kind of devastated because you see her struggling, you know what she's just been through,” says Theresa.
“On top of that was relief, because it's over,” says Theresa.
Just moments out of the operating room, the scars were clear. Gabriella's incision spans from ear to ear across the top of her head.
But progress was also apparent.
“Now it's rounded out and shaped like the other side. The eye doesn't have the surprised look at it always did before and most important thing is that they broke that fusion, to allow her brain to go,” says Theresa.
Through the pain, the nerves, the traveling, and the swelling of Gabriella's entire face, the Todd's have endured through Gabriella's surgery.
Looking at the pictures, just hours after the surgery, Gabriella's face began to swell so much her nose was barely visible. Her eyes also swelled shut.
“She's waking up and she can't see and she's panicking, but she handled it very very well,” says Theresa.
Today, the Todd's continuing working through one of the biggest challenges in their lives. In the meantime, they hope other parents learn from their story.
“You need to go with your gut and if you see something unusual about their head shape, you need to follow up with it and... Just because you get the answer you know, 'they're OK,' it's not necessarily the answer you should go with, you know, just make sure.” says Theresa.
Financially, the Todd's say insurance is covering medical costs, but travel costs have been a huge burden.
Gabriella will go back to the doctor next week for a follow up. Doctors say she still has some swelling in her face. Doctors will see Gabriella again at 3 months and one year to make sure things are healing properly.