By Ashley Yarchin
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - She was born with a death sentence and defeated it. Aliyah Wilson is now six-months-old, and Wednesday she underwent her seventh surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital, making her quite the little miracle.
"She's very entertaining," explained Andrea Wilson, Aliyah's mother. "She wants to get into everything, know everything."
For a new mom go on about her newborn, that's pretty normal. But if you look at Andrea and her little Aliyah, you know they're anything but.
"My husband came with me and they told us we were having a girl," she recalled of her doctors visit at five months pregnant. "He left and went to work and they kept looking at things."
At the time physicians notices what's called an encephalocele, basically brain bulging through a hole in the fetus' face. Andrea was advised to terminate the pregnancy.
"We went forward with the pregnancy, and I'm glad because she's a gift," she said. "She's a wonderful, wonderful baby."
"Aliyah may be the only child in the world ever to present exactly as she has, and she will likely be the only child in the world ever to recover from this," said Dr. Albert Woo, Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
He's been working with the Wilsons since their baby was born, when physicians realized the situation was far worse. Aliyah also has a huge hole on the top of her head. It's called acrania, a rare congenital disorder that exposes the brain, and has a 100 percent mortality rate.
"But the miracle of biology is that Aliyah is actually making a skull for herself," Dr. Woo went on to say.
Wednesday he teamed up with this neurosurgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, to remove that big bulge.
"I felt sad for the family because they were not expecting this...and together we've managed to work through all these opportunities," Dr. Leonard said. "That's what we're here for."
"It's terrifying saying, here, this is my little bundle of joy, please bring her back to me," Andrea said in the moments after her daughter was taken away for the surgery. "It's hard but it has to be done."
Doctors added that Aliyah will likely have delayed development, but she will have normal intelligence and appearance.
On Thursday Andrea updated NewsChannel 5 saying that the surgery was a success, and while Aliyah is in some pain, she's doing great.