A woman was thrilled when she found out she was expecting a child, but little did she know he’d be born looking very different. The child’s doctors didn’t even expect him to survive because of his rare condition, but he proved them wrong.
Anna Ciesielska, like most pregnant women, couldn’t wait to welcome her baby. However, things took a different turn when she saw her newborn baby, Michal Winter, for the first time a few hours after the delivery.
The mother recalled being upset when she first saw her baby. Her baby was born with a rare skin condition that made him look very different from other babies. Moreover, the doctors weren’t too hopeful about his chances of survival.
Michal was born with Harlequin ichthyosis, which caused his skin to have thick, hard scales. Besides having scaly skin on his face, the newborn baby’s mouth remained open because of the tightness of his skin, making it impossible for him to nurse.
Looking at her son for the first time, Anna felt heartbroken because she thought her little one was in pain. At the time, she had no idea about his condition or how long he would live. She recounted:
“It was a huge shock. I thought I was going to have a healthy baby. Not even the doctors at first knew what was wrong with him.”
People Couldn’t Stop Staring at Him
As time passed, Michal’s parents became familiar with his condition and learned how to deal with it. However, they didn’t know that taking their son out in public would be a struggle.
When the doctors first saw Michal and ran tests on him, they told Anna her baby wouldn’t live past a few weeks.
Whenever Anna took her son out in public, she would notice people staring at him. While some passersby would only look at Michal’s skin, others would approach the mother and ask her if she needed help.
The Mother Wasn’t Happy about It
“Michal is a perfectly normal boy with a wonderful nature, he just has this skin condition,” the young mother said. For Anna, her baby was the most precious person, and watching people stare at him made her feel terrible. She expected them to treat him like other babies, but they upset her by asking uncomfortable questions. She recalled:
“I was in a shop, and someone came up to us and was staring at Michal and asked if he was a doll.”
The mother also revealed she saw the stranger’s expression change when Michal moved. The person believed Anna’s son was a doll because of his skin condition and expected him to stay still.
They Wanted the Best for Him
Despite receiving unusual treatment, little Michal continued meeting new people or exploring the outdoors. He was eager to live like other children his age, and his parents wanted the same for him.
Anna and her husband, Sebastian, planned to buy a hydrotherapy bath for their little one because it would allow him to care for his skin. Since it was an expensive purchase, the couple could only afford it after raising money. They hoped it would help their son take care of himself.
Michal’s rare skin condition demanded extra care, which meant Anna had to follow a strict skincare routine for him. She did everything possible to ensure her son’s skin was always at its best.
Looking After Her Baby Boy
When the doctors first saw Michal and ran tests on him, they told Anna her baby wouldn’t live past a few weeks. He was prone to infections because of his scaly skin and was at risk of dehydration. However, Anna said:
“He’s overcome so much, and despite the challenges he faces, he’s such a happy and loving child.”
Caring for her baby was nothing short of a challenge for the mother. She revealed she applies two creams on her baby’s skin six times a day besides giving him a special moisturizing bath. Moreover, she minimizes his sun exposure as much as possible and maintains a comfortable temperature indoors.
The Never-Ending Challenges
Anna has to look after Michal’s skin to ensure it doesn’t get too dry because that would hurt him. It gets challenging for her to set the right temperature for him and keep him away from sunlight to avoid skin burns.
The mother must also ensure she doesn’t expose him to viruses because Michal can fall sick easily. However, she said she is lucky to have helpful people who ease things for her. While people in public places stop and look at Michal, people online also post comments that Anna doesn’t like.
The Online Reaction and What Michal Looks Like Now
When online news outlets picked Michal’s story and shared how people treated him, netizens couldn’t help but share their views in the comments section. Here’s what they said:
“He is so cute. People should look at themselves sometimes.”
― (Wendy Earle) December 10, 2019
Despite the doctors telling him he wouldn’t survive more than a few weeks, little Michal continues to live a happy life with his family. He is like other children his age and loves mingling with new people.