A baby has been born with no arms or legs because of a rare condition which affects just a few families worldwide.
RJ Wilson’s mother Jasmine Self, 24, was five months pregnant when an ultrasound scan revealed her little one’s limbs were not developing.
The four-month-old suffers from tetra-amelia syndrome – defined as the absence of all four limbs, as well as severe malformations of the face, heart, nervous system, skeleton and genitals.
After being advised to terminate her pregnancy, Ms Self and her boyfriend Rondell Wilson decided to not to give up on their baby, with RJ being born at 29 weeks on September 29.
The youngster arrived weighing just 2lb 4oz (1kg) and spent the first two months of his life in intensive care.
Against all the odds, the youngster is now thriving at his home in Florence, South Carolina.
‘I found out I was pregnant in April,’ Ms Self said. ‘I didn’t go to the doctor until August, so it was really late.
‘When I finally decided to go I could tell there was something wrong.’
Ms Self’s ultrasound technician told her to make an urgent appointment with her doctor.
‘I was sitting in the waiting room of my family doctor’s office when he came out to get me,’ Ms Self said.
‘I could see him take a deep breath and my anxiety just went through the roof. My doctor told me my baby didn’t have any limbs.
‘I just stared and him and he asked me if I understood, then I just started crying.
‘I asked him if I did something wrong. I asked him if it was my fault because I didn’t go to the doctor for a few months.’
Ms Self’s doctor reassured her she was not to blame for her baby’s condition.
‘I was sent for follow-up appointments where they explained the condition to me and told me he could have other malformations,’ Ms Self said.
Ms Self – who works as a hotel receptionist – then faced the difficult decision of whether to continue with her pregnancy.
Tetra-amelia syndrome is a very rare disorder in which a baby is born without any of its limbs – it has only been recorded in a few families around the world, according to the US’s National Institutes of Health.
The condition is caused by a genetic mutation in a section of DNA which plays a critical role in development. Most babies die before or shortly after birth.
‘My doctors explained my options to me, and told me there was a possibility I wouldn’t be able to carry him to term, or that he might be stillborn,’ she said.
‘My boyfriend and I talked about a termination and actually booked a procedure in Washington but we I decided to go on with the pregnancy.’
Although her pregnancy went relatively smoothly, things took a turn for the worse when Ms Self was forced to deliver RJ via an emergency C-section when her placenta detached from her uterus wall.
This can lead to severe internal bleeding in the mother, as well as cutting off the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.