(NEW YORK) — A baby who was born with a rare form of dwarfism is now home after spending the first six months of her life in the hospital.
Paisley Courson was born with a severe skeletal disorder called thanatophoric dysplasia (TD). Her parents Melissa and Chris of Douglasville, Georgia, learned of the diagnosis when Melissa was 20 weeks pregnant.
“We were thinking, ‘She’s not going to make it,"” Melissa Courson told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “We were devastated, sad, couldn’t understand why this happened to us because [the condition] is not in our family. It’s a rare, gene mutation, which is what [doctors] said.”
Most infants with TD are stillborn or die shortly after birth due to respiratory failure, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.
But despite arriving six weeks early on Aug. 28, 2019, Paisley defied the odds.
“They took her and put her on a ventilator immediately so she was in the NICU as soon as she was out of my womb,” Courson said, adding that Paisley’s condition caused her lungs to grow improperly. “She couldn’t breathe on her own.”
At 1-month-old, Paisley was transferred from Cobb Hospital in Cobb County, Georgia, to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she eventually received a tracheostomy.
Paisley was hospitalized for a total of 184 days. On Feb. 25, she arrived home with mom, dad, her brother and sister.
“She loves music, she loves playing with her toys,” Courson said. “We love her little smile.”
“She loves to hear herself talk over the trach,” she said, adding, “She’s a happy baby since we’ve been home.”
Thousands have followed Paisley’s journey on her Facebook page, Prayers for Paisley.
Courson said the 7-month-old would be receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy as she continues to grow.
“She’s got her own little speed she’s going at,” Courson added. “She’s a little behind, but we’re OK with that.”
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