In the second trimester of pregnancy, Brandon and Brittany Buell received news that all parents fear: Something was wrong with their baby. The "something wrong" turned out to be severe microcephaly, a birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.
"We found out there was an issue 17 weeks into the pregnancy, and the technician noticed that his head was behind in growth significantly," Brandon told WPTV News. "They told us originally it was spina bifida, and then that turned into possibly Dandy-Walker syndrome? When you start off and you get a diagnosis like that, you're hopeless, you're clueless and you're petrified."
While the Zika virus is a recently identified causeÂ of microcephaly, the CDC lists the following as other causes of the birth defect, which can also happen due to a genetic mutation:
- Certain infections during pregnancy, such as rubella, toxoplasmosis, or cytomegalovirus
- Severe malnutrition, meaning a lack of nutrients or not getting enough food
- Exposure to harmful substances, such as alcohol, certain drugs, or toxic chemicals
- Interruption of the blood supply to the baby's brain during development
According to WPTV News, doctors still aren't sure of what caused the condition for Jaxon, the Buell's now 2-year-old son.
Despite the bad news from their 17-week ultrasound, the Buells never wanted to terminate the pregnancy. While babies with microcephaly are at risk for various complications, including seizures, and learning disabilities, the Buells wereÂ eager to meet their son.
"He wasn't in any danger, I wasn't in any danger and every time we went in for an ultrasound his heart was beating and he was moving around and you could see his little arms and legs," Brittany told WPTV News.
At 2 years old,Â Jaxon is 13 pounds and 25 inches long. He's functioning with justÂ 20 percent of his brain, butÂ he's surpassed doctor's expectations.
"No doctor can look at us and say 'okay now in year 3 we expect this and 4 or 5 and year 10' because he's already surpassed the original prognosis,â Brandon told the news station. âSo, every single day now is just a blessing. Every single day we wake up we try to celebrate that day with him."
Each and every day that Jaxon surpasses the odds is certainly a day worth celebrating.