A newborn has been given the nickname “Baby Hulk” after a rare condition caused her arms and chest to become 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, tube-like structures that carry fluid throughout the body.
The swelling has caused her torso and arms to become disproportionately bulky compared to the rest of her body.
Armani’s mother Chelsey, 33, affectionately nicknamed her daughter “Mini-Hulk” when she was born because she looked “like a mini bodybuilder.”
Armani Milby of Campbellsville, Kentucky, was born with a condition that resulted in swollen arms and legs. Her mother Chelsey gave her the nickname “Mini-Hulk.”
Baby Armani, pictured, spent the first three months of her life hospitalized in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is pictured above shortly after she was born with her mother
Armani spent the first three months of her life hospitalized in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she received specialist treatment to remove excess fluid from her arms.
She is now scheduled to undergo surgery to remove excess lymphatic vessels in order to reduce her arms and chest to a normal size.
She will also need further surgery to remove excess skin on her body.
However, after some fluid drained from her arms, her mother now calls her “mushy.”
‘She’s soft now,’ said Mrs Milby, ‘I just call her my little soft baby.’ She’s doing very well.’
Her daughter’s condition, which can be caused by genetic or hormonal problems, was diagnosed at 17 weeks of pregnancy.
Armani weighed 12 pounds at birth and made her mother look so big during her pregnancy that strangers asked her if she was having triplets.
Doctors gave Armani a “zero percent chance of survival,” Ms. Milby said, but the child cried as soon as she was born by caesarean section at 33 weeks and has been struggling ever since.
Ms Milby, who has two other children, said she burst into tears after the news and did not understand why her baby was suffering from the disease.
Lymphangioma is when fluid-filled bumps or cysts form under the skin because the lymphatic vessels overgrow and stop draining fluid from the body.
The condition is rare, affecting about one in 4,000 children, and is usually diagnosed at birth or in the early years of childhood.
Swelling often occurs in the head and neck area because these areas have a relatively high concentration of lymphatic vessels compared to other parts of the body.
But they can also occur in other places such as the chest and arms. Doctors say only 22 percent of those diagnosed with the condition in utero survive.
Doctors said Armani wouldn’t make it, but she was born via cesarean section at 33 weeks and immediately started crying. She has now received treatment to remove some of the fluid from her body
During surgery, doctors cut out the abnormal lymphatic tissue to promote fluid drainage from the body and prevent fluid from building up.
Patients may also undergo a procedure called sclerotherapy, in which a special drug is injected into the body that causes irritation and scarring of the abnormal lymphatic tissue, causing it to shrink and collapse.
Ms Milby said: “I had never heard of the diagnosis before and to be honest I looked at it and I didn’t really like the results of some of the pictures.”
“When I found out I was honestly devastated, it broke my heart. I didn’t understand what happened, what went wrong, because I had two other healthy babies and I cried every day. Every day I asked God why.’
But now, describing her daughter, she said, “She has a lot more skin.” It will all go away and she will be the normal-looking baby. She’ll just have significant scarring from the surgeries and everything.
“She was lucky. It’s not deformed or anything like that. I’ve actually seen some cases where they are, God bless them, fighters.
‘She is happy. She rarely cries unless she wants to be held. We are trying to do everything for this baby and give him the best possible life.
“Finally she turned around and tried to say ‘Mama’. I’m pretty sure she’s pretty close.
“She’s doing wonderfully. She’s literally my miracle baby and we just love her so much.”
The baby is suffering from a condition called lymphangioma, in which the arms and chest swell due to a buildup of fluid. This is caused by an overgrowth of the lymphatic vessels responsible for fluid drainage, causing them to not drain fluid properly
Armani is pictured above with her mother Chelsey and father Blake. Her mother said she looked like a mini bodybuilder
Ms Milby described the pregnancy: “My body was shutting down.” Something told me it was time to get her out. I weighed almost 200 pounds and my health was really deteriorating.
“I suffered every day; I could never sleep. I was extremely sick.
“That’s why I had her taken away at 33 weeks pregnant because my body was shutting down and day by day it was getting harder to live life and actually breathe because I was so uncomfortable because I kept having fluid coming out of my stomach had to escape.”
“To everyone’s surprise, she came out crying and everyone in the room was touched.” Nobody knew what was going to happen. It’s a very magical story.’
The process was difficult for her father, Blake, who was not allowed into the delivery room.
He said: “I remember sitting outside in the hallway, they took me back there to give birth, and while they were there giving her an epidural, I was pacing outside in the hallway and praying.”
The operation was far from easy for Ms Milby, who suffered a panic attack shortly 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 screamed and cried.
“I was just a wreck, it was terrible.”
“In the back of our minds we were both wondering what was going to happen. However, she just shocked us all and proved everyone wrong.
“When I actually saw her, I cried even harder because I had never seen anything like that, but I didn’t care what she looked like, I still loved her.”
“I had never seen anyone like that before, so I was honestly shocked but grateful at the same time.”
After the birth, Armani and her family were moved to Cincinnati, more than 100 miles away, for three months to be admitted to a specialized hospital where the baby’s recovery began.
Ms Milby said: “I struggled very badly with post-natal depression and had to put that aside to try and be the strongest person I could be for her and my other two children.”
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride.” “It’s really been a rollercoaster ride and every day I struggle a little bit.”
Armani is scheduled to have surgery later this year in which doctors will remove additional lymphatic vessels. In the coming years she will need surgery to remove the excess skin.