A woman gave birth to her beloved baby girl just a year and a half after her first son was born. She and her husband were both very excited to have a daughter after having a son. However, the couple was surprised when they first saw their baby. She was covered in thick, dry, white scales and red sores. The doctors told them that their daughter had a rare hereditary skin condition which could be fatal. They were heartbroken.
Courtney Westlake and her husband Evan were living a happy life with their son, Conor, when they found out that Courtney was pregnant with their second child. Their whole family was pleasantly surprised, and even more so when they found out that she was pregnant with a girl.
Months passed and everything looked great with their baby. The couple was so excited for the big day, Evan even joked how he has to learn how to braid hair before their baby is born. Finally, on December 19, 2011, Brenna Helen Marie came into their lives.
However, Courtney noticed something weird with Breanna. When the doctors first placed her baby on her chest, she was covered in thick white scales which Courtney thought needed to be wiped off.
In her website, she shared:
“When our daughter was first born, I just thought she needed to be wiped off.
She had a thick whiteness covering her entire body, and there was a sort of confused panic from the medical staff in the room. She was whisked out of our room almost immediately and taken to the nursery before being transported to the nearby neonatal intensive care unit.
Somewhere in all of the confusion, we realized that she couldn’t simply be wiped off. The thick covering on her was her skin.”
Two days after, Courtney realized how severe her daughter’s condition was. They found out that she was born with a serious and often fatal hereditary skin condition called Harlequin ichthyosis. This condition causes Breanna’s body to produce skin 10 times faster than a normal person’s. This causes redness all over her body, and also affects her eyes, mouth, nose and ears.
On Christmas Eve of that same year, just a few days after she was born, Breanna contracted a blood infection due to her disease. Her parents were devastated with the thought that they might never see their baby girl again. However, Breanna was strong and fought through her infection. After two weeks, Courtney and Evan were finally able to hold her in their arms for the first time. Though they were told that her condition was untreatable, they were very happy to have her.
With Breanna having been born different, her parents knew they had a tough road ahead. More than her daughter’s medical condition, Courtney found out the hard way that people can be mean. Strangers often point at her baby, making loud comments and asking insensitive questions.
Other parents were also very inconsiderate, pulling their children away from Breanna or telling them to keep quiet when they get close to her. Courtney said she would prefer it if they came up to her and her daughter to talk, instead of avoiding Breanna.
Luckily, Breanna is confident in her own skin, thanks to the support and love that her family showers her with. Even her brother Connor adores and worships her. This makes Courtney and Evan very proud of their family.
Now, Breanna is six years old and is living a normal life. Her parents believe that she can grow up to be whatever she wants to be despite her rare condition. Inspired by their daughter, Courtney even wrote a book which was published in August 2016 entitled, “A Different Beautiful”. She also writes about Breanna regularly in her blog, “Blessed by Breanna”, and continues to inspire parents all over the world with their beautiful story.
In Courtney’s words, “… We are discovering day by day, week by week, just how beautiful different can be.”
What can you say about this inspiring story of a family’s love? What do you think of Breanna’s strength and beauty? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below!