A newborn has been nicknamed ‘baby hulk’ after a rare condition caused her arms and chest to become ultra swole.
Armani Milby, from Campbellsville, Kentucky, has a severe form of lymphangioma, a condition that causes benign tumors to grow in the lymphatic vessels, tube-like structures that carry fluid around the body.
The swelling has caused her upper torso and arms to become disproportionately bulky compared to the rest of her 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, from Campbellsville, Kentucky, was born with a condition that gave her swollen arms and legs. Her mother Chelsey has nicknamed her ‘mini Hulk’
Baby Armani, pictured, spent the first three months of her life in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the hospital. She is pictured above shortly after being born with her mother
Armani spent the first three months of her life in the hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she received specialist treatment to drain excess fluid from her arms.
She is now scheduled to undergo surgery to remove the excess lymph vessels to help reduce her arms and chest to a normal size.
She will also need further surgery to remove any excess skin left on her body.
Now that some fluid has been drained from her arms, however, her mother has switched to calling her ‘squishy’.
‘Now she’s squishy,’ Ms Milby said, ‘I just call her my little squishy baby. She’s doing very well.’
Her daughter’s condition, which can be caused by genetics or hormone problems, was diagnosed at week 17 of pregnancy.
Armani weighed 12lbs when she was born and made her mother look so large when she was pregnant that strangers would ask if she was having triplets.
Doctors gave Armani a ‘zero percent’ chance of survival, Ms Milby said, but the infant cried as soon as she was born via C-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 didn’t understand why her baby had the condition.
Lymphangioma is when fluid-filled bumps, or cysts, form under the skin because the lymph vessels overgrow and stop draining fluid from the body.
The condition is rare, affecting about one in 4,000 children, and is normally diagnosed at birth or within the first few years of childhood.
Swelling is common in the head and neck area — because these areas have a relatively high concentration of lymph 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 the condition in the womb, doctors say only 22 percent survive.
Doctors said Armani wouldn’t make it, but she was born via C-section at 33 weeks and started crying immediately. She has now received treatment to drain some of the fluid from her body
In surgery, doctors will cut out the abnormal lymphatic tissue in order to boost fluid drainage from the body and to stop the liquid from collecting.
Patients may also receive a procedure called Sclerotherapy — where a special medication is injected into the body that causes irritation and scarring to the abnormal lymphatic tissue, leading it to shrink and collapse.
Ms Milby said: ‘I had never, ever, heard of the diagnosis before and honestly, I had looked into it, and I didn’t really like the results with some of the pictures.
‘When I found out, to be honest, I was devastated, I was heartbroken. 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 describing her daughter now, she said: ‘She has a lot of extra skin. It’ll all go away, and she’ll be the normal-looking baby. She’ll just have significant scarring from the surgeries and everything.
‘She got lucky. She’s not deformed or anything like that. I’ve actually seen some cases where they have and God bless them kids, they’re fighters.
‘She’s happy. She hardly ever cries unless she wants to be held. We’re trying to do everything for this baby and give her the best life possible.
‘She finally rolled over and she’s trying to say “momma”, I’m pretty sure, she’s getting really close.
‘She’s doing wonderful. She literally is my miracle baby, and we just love her so much.’
The baby has a condition called lymphangioma, which has caused her arms and chest to swell because of a build-up of fluid. This is caused by an overgrowth of the lymph vessels, responsible for draining fluid, causing them not to drain fluid properly
Armani is pictured above with her mother Chelsey and father Blake. Her mother said she looks like a mini-bodybuilder
Describing the pregnancy, Ms Milby said: ‘My body was shutting down. Something was telling me it was time to get her out. I was almost 200 pounds, and my health was getting really bad.
‘I suffered every day; I could never sleep. I was extremely sick.
‘That’s why I had them take her at 33 weeks because my body was shutting down and it was getting harder every day to live life and actually breathe because I was so uncomfortable as I had to keep getting fluid drained out of my stomach.
‘To everyone’s surprise, she came out crying and everybody in the room was emotional. No one 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 hard.
He said: ‘I remember sitting outside in the hallway, they took me back there for the delivery and while they’re in there giving her an epidural, I was out there pacing the hall, just praying.
The operation was far from easy for Ms Milby, who suffered a panic attack soon after they started, but she said it was all 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 just a wreck, it was horrible.
‘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 more because I had never seen anything like that 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 being born, Armani and her family were moved more than 100 miles away to Cincinnati for three months to be admitted to a specialist hospital where the baby began to make her recovery.
Ms Milby said: ‘I battled postpartum depression really bad, and I had to push that away to try to be the strongest person I could be for her and for my other two kids.
‘It’s been a rollercoaster ride. It really has been a rollercoaster ride and every day, I struggle a little bit.’
Armani is scheduled for surgery later this year where doctors will remove extra lymphatic vessels and over the coming years, she will need to undergo surgery to remove the extra skin.