The nurse turned around to the doctor. She was holding a copy of the scan in her hands. Everyone in the room was waiting to see what the scan showed, yet the nurse hadn’t handed it over. She stood there in shock. The doctor and everyone else in the room seemed worried about her behavior.
A call of her name snapped her out of it, and she handed the scan over to the doctor. When he saw it, he understood her shock.
Shelly and Rob Wall had a happy marriage. They lived an idyllic life in Cumbria, in northwest England, with their two daughters. They believed that they were good parents and that they had a lot of love to give. With such a great capacity to love, they decided that there was only one thing that they could do to give them peace of mind. After deciding that they wanted to have more children, Shelley successfully became pregnant.
The pair were delighted at the prospect of another kid in a house full of girls. Both Shelley and Rob wanted to have a son. For Rob, it would mean having a boy that he could bond with over football and sports that his daughters simply weren’t interested in. However, a trip to the doctor’s office put those dreams in doubt. Trips to the hospital are regular occurrences during pregnancy.
The health of both the mother and the baby needs to be closely monitored. Shelley and Rob didn’t need to have this explained to them. They had been through it twice before and felt comfortable with the experience. However, their comfort was conditional to the experiences being good. This latest visit to the doctor wasn’t good.
In fact, it was terrible. The baby boy in Shelley’s womb had an abnormality in his skull. It appeared as though he only had two percent of his brain. Naturally, this news was devastating for Shelley and Rob. They had so many hopes and dreams for their child.
Now, the quality of that child’s life could drop dramatically. A bleak picture of the life that child would live was painted by the doctor. Noah had developed essentially no brain matter at this juncture, and he also had spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and the spinal cord don’t form properly. Seeing how upset Shelley and Rob were, the doctor made a radical proposal. Abortion is often a drastic option for any mother-to-be to take.
As far as the doctor was concerned, the drastic option was the right one in this case. He told them that the life expectancy of their boy would likely be short, and even if it wasn’t, he would require constant care. Was this the kind of life they wanted for their boy and for their other daughters? Shelley and Rob had a decision to make. Shelley and Rob thought things over.
They went home and looked at their girls. Not having the heart to tell them the bad news, they adored their children and hated to ever see them sad. In the adoration, there was an answer. Shelley and Rob had committed to having a new baby. If they had been younger, they may have opted for abortion, they said, but they would love this child no matter what.
They would keep the baby. The odds were against the baby from its conception, yet Shelley and Rob held out hope that the boy would make it. It’s a good thing that they did. Noah let out a big scream the moment that he was born, letting the parents know that he had arrived to give him a fighting chance. A doctor placed a shunt in Noah’s skull to drain the excess fluid and relieve the pressure on his brain tissue.
His parents could only wait to see how he developed. Shelley and Rob had no expectations for Noah in the early days of life. They were simply happy that their boy was healthy and happy. What’s more, Noah was able to breathe, eat, and drink because his brain stem was intact. He was paralyzed from the waist down, but this never seemed to affect his mood.
He was a happy little boy. It made Shelley and Rob wonder how Noah could be thriving with so little of his brain. Noah was developing at a rate that could hardly be explained. Before his birth, doctors warned that he would have severe special needs. Yet he was coming on three years old and didn’t seem to be behind most kids of his age.
He was aware of everything going on around him, appeared emotionally intelligent, and was even starting to talk. Another trip to the doctor’s office was required when Noah collecting milestones like leaves from a tree. His parents wanted to know how his brain looked. A second scan had to be taken. The nurse came back from the other room with the scans and looked visibly shocked.
“You’re not going to believe this,” she said. The doctor took the scan from her and put on his glasses, fixing them at the top of his nose. He examined the scan. “She’s right,” he said. “I can hardly believe this.
Shelley and Rob couldn’t believe what the doctor was telling them. Nobody could have prepared them for the scan that this doctor had. Noah, the boy who had two percent of his brain at birth, now had over 80 percent of his brain. He had grown his brain back. It was truly a medical miracle.
So how had Noah’s brain grown? Dr. Gregory Scott, a neuroscience researcher at Imperial College London, believed that the shunt had made space for the brain to grow. Yet this was only a theory. Scott couldn’t prove it, and thus it shows how little we truly know about our most vital organs.
The how wasn’t too important to Shelley and Rob. They were simply delighted by what was, and they knew the next steps to take. Noah’s story received a lot of media attention. His story was uplifting and made people hopeful. On one media appearance, Shelley and Rob announced that they intended to further Noah’s development.
On a trip to Australia, there they would undergo a neurophysics treatment, a combination of physiotherapy and cognitive exercises. They even had a belief that Noah would still be able to walk in the future. All in all, the little boy’s future looks bright, and his story teaches us an important lesson. Without getting into a debate about the ethical arguments around abortion, we can say that Noah’s story is one of human hope and positivity. His parents were told that looking after Noah would be tough, and while taking care of him isn’t easy, there’s not a day that goes by without them thanking their lucky stars.
They had faith in their boy, and they are being rewarded with a starring role on the most fulfilling of journeys.