A mother who was told her newborn baby’s head was too small would never have guessed what happened next.
Vic Frost’s son Daniel Bradley appeared perfectly healthy when he was born in October 2011.
But at the age of three months, a health visitor worried that his head was too small.
Not long after, Daniel was diagnosed with the rare condition craniosynostosis.
It causes the joints in the skull to fuse together too early, instead of about two years of life, and leaves no room for the brain to grow.
Signs include a rugby ball shaped head or pointed forehead. The soft spot on the top of the head disappears before the first year of life.
Vic, a beautician, said: “I thought at first it was nothing serious, but then the doctors explained that his brain didn’t have enough room to grow.
“We were warned that without surgery he would die. It was a terrible time.”
Not all babies with craniosynostosis need surgery. But Daniel’s parents were warned that without them he would die.
Left untreated, craniosynostosis can lead to serious complications such as seizures, developmental delays, or head deformities.
Not even a year old, Daniel was rushed into a nine-hour life-saving operation to prevent his skull from shattering his brain.
Surgeons at Birmingham Children’s Hospital had to painstakingly disassemble and rebuild his skull piece by piece.
They moved his forehead to the top of his head, which removed his eyebrow bones.
Their goal was to create an artificial gap in Daniel’s head to allow his skull to fuse as he ages.
Vic and her partner Stu had to wait anxiously.
Vic said: “When we finally got to see him, he just didn’t look like my baby.
“In his face he was so different. It was such a shocking feeling.
“For many months after the surgery I mourned the life he had before and the son I had before.
“I know the surgery was life-saving. But it was so difficult to come to terms with what he had been through.
“When he went to kindergarten he was very stuck, but we’re told this behavior is common in people who have had surgery at a younger age.”
Heartbreaking images show the aftermath of rebuilding Daniel’s skull, leaving him with a huge zigzag scar.
But it was worth it as Daniel made a full recovery and lived a normal life.
Ten-year-old Daniel, who has a 19-year-old brother, Jak, is a healthy schoolboy and is now raising funds for the hospital that saved his life.
He will complete a mini triathlon alongside his best pal Finley Whysall on April 24 after they took inspiration from the Tokyo Olympics.
Vic said: “We are incredibly proud of Daniel.
“The photos following his surgery are a terrifying reminder of what he went through, but also a reminder of how brave and inspiring he is.
“Now he is 10 and has decided to give back to the people who saved his life.
“He’s a huge sports fan, he loves Derby County FC and the mini triathlon felt like the ideal way to say thank you to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald Housing Charity.”
Daniel said: “Me and Finley will be swimming 20 lengths, running three miles and cycling six miles.
“I was training at my local pool and they closed a lane especially for me.
“We ran too, although not too much as we want to try and save for the day of the event.
“We are raising money for the hospital and for the Ronald McDonald Housing Charity, who looked after me and my family while I was in hospital.
“All of our teachers, family and friends have been very helpful and I am delighted with the amount of money we have raised so far. I appreciate it very much.
“I’m really enjoying training at the moment, I want to be a footballer, but I plan to do more triathlons.”
To donate to Daniel’s GoFundMe, Click here.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8606044/babys-head-too-small-brain-surgery-terrifying/ I was told my baby’s head was too small for his brain