Hearing a child speak for the first time is one of the landmark moments no mother forgets. But for Emma Murray, it was a moment she never thought would happen with her youngest child Aaron.
When the word “Mummy” left his lips, it was nothing short of miracle – because he was born with only the tiniest part of a brain. Emma, from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, said: When Aaron was first born, I was told there was no way he could survive. I was told he might live for three minutes, three hours or three days. The doctors told me if it had been any of his other organs which had failed to grow, they would have been able to do something but they couldn’t grow him another brain.
But right from the very beginning, Aaron proved he is a real fighter. The other day I was saying ‘Mummy’ to him. I was clapping my hands and he was giggling away. He looked at me, and said ‘Mummy’ back. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been told my son would only live for a few minutes, but now here he was saying ‘Mummy’ – something I never thought I would ever hear.
Just minutes after he arrived into the world, doctors told Emma Aaron had a very rare health condition called Holoprosencephaly ( it is a rare condition where the brain doesn’t form properly. It occurs in approximately two in ten thousand births). Born with only a brain stem and not a full brain, Emma was told to invite her closest family to the hospital to meet her new born boy before he passed away. But more than two years on, Emma says Aaron is not only alive he has just said “Mummy” – his first word.
She recalled: I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was in labour. With my older son, I had been in no doubt I was pregnant but with Aaron, I had only put on a little weight, I had no sickness or cravings and my periods hadn’t stopped. My mum and dad rushed me to Monklands hospital in the middle of the night, thinking I had an appendicitis.
But as soon as the doctors and nurses examined me, they realized I was about to give birth. Emma said: For the first few days of Aaron’s life, it felt like everyone was just waiting for something bad to happen but Aaron had other ideas.
The doctors explained that Aaron’s brain stem had developed, so he had limited functions. His internal organs worked and he could breathe, see and hear. It seemed like a miracle.
I never thought I would ever hear him say anything at all – I burst into tears when he said ‘mummy. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life.