Baby born with face growth the size of a melon recovers from life-saving op to have it removed after receiving 96 pints of blood
Doctors told Mia's parents she could die if cyst ruptured during nine-hour surgeryMia's mother refused to terminate the pregnancy after doctors feared Mia could be severely disabled
11:52 GMT, 16 August 2012
A baby who was born with a growth on her face the size of a melon has made an incredible recovery after having life-saving surgery to have it removed.
Mia Molyneux was born with a huge cyst on the side of her face – that was bigger than her own head, and weighed almost half as much as she did.
Surgeons battled to remove the growth in a gruelling nine-hour operation – which saw little Mia have 96 pints of blood pumped into her tiny body to keep her alive.
Doctors urged Michaela to terminate her pregnancy because they thought Mia could be disabled, but she refused
Now aged 20 weeks, she has finally been given the all clear to go back to the family home in Widnes, Cheshire.
Her mother Michaela, 20, said: 'I was absolutely terrified when I found out Mia had something wrong with her.
'The doctors were urging me to terminate the pregnancy, as they feared Mia would be severely disabled, but I absolutely refused.
'When she was born I fell in love with her instantly. When I looked at her I saw my baby girl alive, not the growth.
'The operation to remove the it was really risky – I was terrified the cyst would rupture and she would bleed to death – but the surgeons were amazing.
'She needed 96 pints of blood transfued – the average baby only has one pint in their body. I'm just so glad to have my little girl home with me at last.'
Medics realised there was something wrong with the pregnancy after Michaela, desperate to know the sex of her baby, booked herself in for an extra ultrasound scan.
Before; Mia's cyst was due to the abnormal development of the lymphatic vessels that drain fluid from tissues
After: Surgeons managed to remove the cyst following nine hours of surgery
Sonographers quickly spotted a huge swelling on the baby's face – and feared she would be born with severe disabilities.
Michaela said: 'I booked an extra scan at 17 weeks at Warrington Hospital to find out the sex of the baby because I was so impatient.
'The sonographer was staring at the screen and instantly I knew something was wrong. He said he could see swelling so booked me in for a more detailed examination the next day.'
Doctors were concerned about the baby and urged Michaela to terminate the pregnancy, but the mother-to-be refused to give up on her unborn baby.
At 36 weeks pregnant, still unsure of her unborn baby's exact prognosis, Michaela had an MRI scan which confirmed that Mia had combined venous-lymphatic malformation.
Mia will always have some scarring. Her mother said: 'I'm so proud of her.'
The ultra-rare condition results from an abnormal development of the lymphatic vessels that drain fluid from tissues.
When these vessels develop abnormally they can cause a localised swelling, often with cysts, and sometimes blood vessels can also develop abnormally in the same area.
A caesarean was planned for 27 March, at Liverpool Women's Hospital, as a natural birth would be too dangerous for the pair.
Doctors explained they would need to carry out a risky procedure during the birth where they would insert a ventilator into Mia's throat before the umbilical cord was cut, to help her breathe.
Medics were so worried about the procedure, there were 18 doctors and nurses in the room when Mia was born. She was rushed to intensive care after the baby's lung collapsed minutes after birth.
Michaela said: 'Mia was bought to see me before she was rushed to intensive care at just three hours old. My legs weren't working because of the spinal block so I couldn't lean over to see her, so the doctor guided my hand in to feel her face.'
When Mia was just six days old, surgeons decided to operate on the cyst.
Michaela said: 'The surgeon explained that there was a risk that it might rupture and that she would bleed and they wouldn't be able to control it.
'They said if that happened then there will be nothing they can do for her. I was worried but I knew she was in the safest possible hands. Mia had several bleeds but luckily with a bit of pressure they managed to stop them.'
Dr Adam Donne, paediatric ENT surgeon at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, carried out the surgery and said: 'This was an extremely difficult and rare case and Mia's condition was critical. The lesion was very delicate and therefore bleeding was challenging.
'Following surgery, Mia continued to be cared for by our Intensive Care team before she became well enough to recover on our neurosurgical ward.
'Although she required further surgery, she has now returned home and we are pleased with her progress.
'This is a wonderful example of how the doctors and nurses throughout Alder Hey work well together to save the life of a newborn.'
After nine hours Mia came out of surgery and started her recovery.
Michaela said: 'She looked so battered and bruised, it was heartbreaking seeing her in that state. It was so hard not being able to hold her until she was 15 days old.'
Now, at 20 weeks old, Mia has been able to go home to her proud mum.
Michaela said: 'Mia will be scarred for life but it's a small price to pay. When her bandages came off after the surgery I used to still wrap her up in them when we went outside because I was worried what people would think.
'Now I don't, she's been through so much and I'm so proud of her.'