An identical twin who was born with a rare condition that caused her brain to grow outside of her skull has defied doctors by surviving.
Aniyah Todd, had only 10 per cent of her brain and was diagnosed with encephalocele – and her family were warned she would likely die.
Surgeons were forced to remove the majority of her brain tissue during a life-saving operation when she was just a day old.
But her parents Charlotte Youds, 20, and Will, 20, from Liverpool, were told to plan palliative care to prepare for her death.
However, Aniyah refused to give up. Just six days after she was born, she was discharged and reunited with her twin sister Sophia.
And last week she turned four-months-old, defying all medical odds to make it this far.
Aniyah Todd was diagnosed with encephalocele – and her family were warned she would likely die as she was born without 90 per cent of her brain. But last week she turned four-months-old, defying all medical odds
Miss Youds said: ‘The journey has been very tough. It was horrific when they told us that our baby’s brain was missing and there’s no way that she was going to live.
‘It was hard to buy baby clothes, and prepare for birth.
‘However, after she was born and struggled to breath and as she turned cold in our arms we finally accepted what we thought was going to happen and said goodbye.’
She added: ‘After around an hour she was still with us and doctors kept coming in to check what was going on and looked shocked that she was still alive.
‘And then from there she just turned around and got strong and stronger, she came home a week after the surgery.
‘Now Aniyah is doing a lot better than anyone could ever have predicted.’
During the 13-week scan the midwife first noticed something was wrong with Aniyah’s head.
She was transferred to a specialist hospital where medics revealed it was unlikely she would survive if she was born.
Surgeons were forced to remove the majority of her brain tissue during a life-saving operation when she was just a day old. But just six days after she was born, she was discharged and reunited with her identical twin sister Sophia
Consultants took the family aside and warned that because of the large amount of her brain missing, she would be unable to function.
They were even warned that she would likely need oxygen to help her breathe and keep her comfortable until she passed.
The hospital had even booked a spare room in the building for the family so they could spend her last moments with her.
But instead of giving up on their daughter, the family decided to keep hope and let Aniyah decide her own fate.
Miss Youds said it felt that sometimes ‘everybody wanted to just give up’ on her daughter.
The twins were eventually born in July this year. Just a day later, Aniyah was rushed for life-saving neurosurgery.
After five days after her surgery she appeared to be healthy and doctors tried to take her off of her ventilator.
But she stopped breathing and needed to be hooked back up to the machine straight away.
The following day, doctors told the family that it would be cruel to hook her back up to a ventilator if she was unable to breathe again.
‘We were both broken. They unplugged all the machines and put her in our arms to say goodbye,’ Miss Youds added.
‘We talked to her and promised her that we would always look after her if she just fought for us.’
She can breathe on her own – despite doctors thinking she would be unable to – and her only medication is for her reflux (pictured with Sophia)
Consultants took the family aside during pregnancy and warned that because of the large amount of Aniyah’s brain missing, she would be unable to function
But after returning home the same day, Aniyah pulled out her own feeding tube and began drinking.
She can breathe on her own – despite doctors thinking she would be unable to – and her only medication is for her reflux.
The family have visited the neurosurgeon once since her surgery and will continue to have regular check-ups.
Doctors have said the best way to see the extent of her brain damage is to let Aniyah try things to see how well she can do them.
‘She has done everything that doctors said she wouldn’t so far,’ Miss Youds added.
‘She can lift her head up and look around. She’s so alert, she smiles and laughs, and she loves music, she’ll have a little dance.’