The mother of a nearly 2-year-old boy in the United Kingdom is opening up about her son’s rare birth defect that she described as a real-life case of “Humpty Dumpty.”
Ronnie Jebbitt, now 20 months, was born with craniosynostosis -- a birth defect “in which one or more of the fibrous joints between the bones of your baby's skull (cranial sutures) close prematurely (fuse), before your baby's brain is fully formed,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The brain continues to grow, “giving the head a misshapen appearance,” it adds.
Ronnie’s mother, Harriet Alcock, 26, told South West News Service (SWNS) that her son appeared to be healthy after birth, reaching important milestones and “doing all the things a baby his age should do.” But in August 2018, about 6 months after Ronnie was born, he reportedly suffered a seizure, leading Alcock to take her son to a hospital in Oxford.
“Ronnie was fine and then all of a sudden he started shaking. It lasted for about 30 seconds, it was completely out of the blue and so scary,” she recalled.
Initially, doctors struggled to find a cause of the body’s seizure — reportedly pointing to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can sometimes “mimic epileptic seizure,” according to a 2015 study on the topic.
Alcock took her son to various doctors following the incident, all of whom reportedly wrote-off her son’s symptoms.
“I had to really push to get more tests done and I'm glad I did,” she told SWNS. "He had about seven more seizures, each time it was slightly different, and I knew it was something more serious."
Eventually, about a year after he was born, Ronnie was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, symptoms of which include seizures, which is considered a “serious complication” of the condition, as per Children’s National.
In July, the young boy underwent surgery to separate his skull and “piece it back together.”
"It was such a relief to have a diagnosis but the thought of him going through that surgery was horrific,” said Alcock. "I was scared that they had to break his skull apart and then piece it back together again."
"It was a real shock when he came back and I saw those huge scars, but he was incredible,” she added, noting the surgery took about five hours and her son was left with a large "zig-zag" scar. "He was even up, walking and babbling away, just three days after the operation.”
Alcock said Ronnie is now doing well. She says she has since worked to raise awareness about the rare condition so “hopefully Ronnie’s story can help others.”