A newborn baby has been nicknamed ‘baby hulk’ after a rare condition left his arms and chest extremely swollen.
Armani Milby, of Campbellsville, Kentucky, suffers from a severe form of lymphangioma, a disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the lymphatic vessels, tubular structures that carry fluids throughout the body.
The swelling made his upper torso and arms disproportionate to the rest of his body.
Armani’s mother Chelsey, 33, gave her daughter the affectionate nickname “mini Hulk” when she was born because she looked “like a mini bodybuilder”.
Armani Milby, of Campbellsville, Kentucky, was born with a condition that caused her arms and legs to swell. Her mother Chelsey nicknamed her “mini Hulk”
Baby Armani, pictured, spent the first three months of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the hospital. She is pictured above shortly after her birth with her mother
Armani spent the first three months of her life in hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she received specialized treatment to drain excess fluid from her arms.
She now needs surgery to remove excess lymphatic vessels to reduce her arms and chest to normal size.
She will also need additional surgery to remove any excess skin left on her body.
Now that some fluid has leaked from his arms, his mother has started calling him “squishy.”
“Now she’s squishy,” said Mrs. Milby, “I just call her my little slime baby. She’s very well.
Her daughter’s condition, which may be caused by genetic or hormonal problems, was diagnosed in the 17th week of pregnancy.
Armani weighed 12 pounds when he was born and made his mother look so big when she was pregnant that strangers asked if she was having triplets.
Doctors gave Armani a “zero percent” chance of survival, Ms Milby said, but the baby cried from the moment he was born by Caesarean section at 33 weeks and has been fighting ever since.
Ms Milby, who has two other children, said she was left in tears after the news, saying she did not understand why her baby was suffering from the condition.
Lymphangioma occurs when fluid-filled bumps or cysts form under the skin because lymphatic vessels overgrow and stop draining fluid from the body.
The condition is rare, affecting around one in 4,000 children, and is normally diagnosed at birth or during the early years of childhood.
Swelling is common in the head and neck because these areas have a relatively high concentration of lymphatic vessels compared to other parts of the body.
But they can also appear in other places like the chest and arms. Of those diagnosed with this disease in the womb, doctors say only 22 percent survive.
Doctors said Armani wouldn’t make it, but she was born by C-section at 33 weeks and immediately started crying. She has now received treatment to drain some of the fluid from her body.
In surgery, doctors will cut out abnormal lymphatic tissue to stimulate fluid drainage from the body and prevent fluid from building up.
Patients may also undergo a procedure called sclerotherapy, in which a special medication is injected into the body, causing irritation and scarring to the abnormal lymphatic tissue, leading it to shrink and collapse.
Ms Milby said: “I had never heard of this diagnosis before and, honestly, I had looked into it and didn’t really like the results of some of the photos.”
“When I found out, to be honest, I was devastated, I was heartbroken. I didn’t understand what happened, what was wrong, because I had two other healthy babies and I cried every day. Every day I asked God why.
But describing her daughter now, she said: “She has a lot of extra skin. This will all go away and she will return to being a normal-looking baby. She’ll just have major scars from the surgeries and everything.
“She was lucky. It’s not distorted or anything like that. In fact, I’ve seen cases where, and God bless them, children, they are fighters.
‘She is happy. She almost never cries unless she wants to be held. We are trying to do everything for this baby and give him the best life possible.
“She finally turns around and she’s trying to say ‘mommy’, I’m pretty sure, she’s getting really close.
“She’s doing wonderfully. She is literally my miracle baby, and we love her so much.
The baby has a condition called lymphangioma, which causes his arms and chest to swell due to fluid buildup. This is due to an overgrowth of lymphatic vessels, responsible for draining fluid, which prevents them from properly draining fluid.
Armani is pictured above with her mother Chelsey and father Blake. Her mother said she looked like a mini bodybuilder
Describing the pregnancy, Ms Milby said: “My body was shutting down. Something told me it was time to bring her out. I weighed almost 200 pounds and my health was really deteriorating.
“I suffered every day; I could never sleep. I was extremely ill.
“That’s why I asked them to take it at 33 weeks because my body was shutting down and it was getting harder and harder every day to live and breathe because I was so uncomfortable that I needed to continue to evacuate the fluid from my stomach.
“To everyone’s surprise, she came out crying and everyone in the room was emotional. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It’s a very magical story.
For her father, Blake, who was not allowed in the delivery room, the process was difficult.
He said: “I remember sitting outside in the hallway, they took me back there for the birth and while they were in there giving her an epidural, I was in there pacing back and forth in the hallway, just praying.
The operation was far from easy for Ms Milby, who suffered a panic attack soon after it began, but she said it was worth it when she saw her baby’s face.
She said: “They had to give me something to calm me down because I was having a panic attack. I was screaming and crying.
“I was a wreck, it was horrible.
“Deep down, we were both wondering what was going to happen. However, she shocked us all and proved everyone wrong.
“When I saw her, I cried even more because I had never seen anything like it, but I didn’t care what she looked like, I loved her anyway.
“I had never seen anyone look like that before, so I was just shocked to be honest, but grateful at the same time.”
After his birth, Armani and her family were moved more than 100 miles from Cincinnati for three months to be admitted to a specialty hospital where the baby began to recover.
Ms Milby said: “I really struggled with postpartum depression and had to push that aside to try to be the strongest person I could be for her and for my other two children.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride. It has truly been a rollercoaster ride and every day I struggle a little.
Armani is scheduled to undergo surgery later this year, during which doctors will remove the extra lymphatic vessels, and in coming years she will have to undergo surgery to remove excess skin.