MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - When you meet 20-month-old Blakely Beddingfield, she is a bundle of energy and curiosity, but before she was born her parents learned her intestines, and possibly other organs, were outside of her body.
"We knew that Blakely had Gastroschisis at 16 weeks along, so when she was delivered, we knew she was going to have this problem," said Blakely's mom, Stephanie Beddingfield.
Beddingfield didn't expect it to take five hours before she could see her child, with only descriptions from her husband and other relatives.
"It was one of those things where the doctors were so concerned about making certain that her well being was ok, that no one really had time to come down and say ok, your baby's fine, she's stable," she said.
Blakely's condition was worse than first thought. The problem involved not only her intestines but the spleen and part of the stomach, all outside the abdomen. Beddingfield said her thoughts turned dark.
"There was just no way she could live," she said. "I mean, you would think how can there be this much wrong with a child and her intestines were black and blue and just dying from floating in the amniotic fluid for so long."
The little fighter was in the hospital for four weeks. Her intestines were carefully manipulated.
"Hers was so large and inflamed they had to take them out of a silo and put them in an IV bag and they would come in an manually squeeze them in a little at a time every day," said Beddingfield. "When you look at Blakely today, she's very active just like any other little girl her age and you don't realize how serious her condition was until you look at the pictures."
It took 43 days before she could eat like a normal child. Blakely had three surgeries before she was sent home on New Year's Eve. The Beddingfields go back for periodic check-ups to make sure she is progressing nicely.
Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed July 30 as Gastroschisis Awareness Day. Beddingfield hopes more people will learn about the condition and more money will be raised for research.