Content warning: This post contains images some readers may find confronting.
At 28 weeks, Fiona Gould had a routine scan of her baby. Then came the phone call from doctors – the one no parent wants to receive.
“You and your partner need to come in immediately, there’s something wrong with your baby.”
After a completely normal and healthy pregnancy, the mum-of-one and her partner were told baby Archie would be born with anophthalmia – a brain abnormality so rare, there’s only one other recorded case in the world.
In the simplest terms, this meant Archie would be born without eyes.
“When we found out our baby was going to have no eyes… that was the worst moment of our life,” the primary school special needs teacher from the UK told Mamamia.
“Not knowing what it was and doing that 40-minute drive to the hospital suspecting what it would be was horrible. We were really scared and anxious about how would we deal with a blind child and seeing a baby with no eyes, but it’s turned out that the blindness is the least of our worries.”
Now 10 months, Archie lives with SOX2 syndrome, a genetic condition affecting one in 250,000 births. Because of this, his development is far slower than that of a typically developing child.
“Initially [when we brought him home], he wasn’t very different, he was doing what other newborn babies do. But now it is hard because he’s doing things but it’s so so so slow,” Fiona said.
“He’s still trying to get his head up, which is something a two-month-old would do. He’s beginning to open his hands to hold stuff which is amazing for us – it’s like he understands things but his body lets him down. But he’s going to make the milestones in his own time.”
You can see beautiful Archie and his family in the gallery below…