Farmington, MO boy survives life-threatening birth defect as cases rise
FARMINGTON, MO (KFVS) - A birth defect mostly affecting babies of young mothers had doubled in the past 10 years.
According to the Center for Disease Control, gastroschisis affects 2,000 babies each year.
One Farmington, Missouri family fought through the diagnosis together.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect that causes a baby's intestines to develop outside of its body.
The CDC recently released a report saying the numbers are growing, and they don't know why.
Warrick will turn eight on Saturday, Jan. 30.
It's something Warrick's mother Katie Byington didn't know if she'd ever see.
"They actually gave him a 50/50 shot of survival," Byington said.
It was her first pregnancy. She was overseas with her husband stationed in Germany when she learned the news.
Katie had to be emergency airlifted back to the U.S. when the doctor's realized baby Warrick's condition.
"I spent days, all day long, sitting in a hospital room staring at a baby that was unconscious," Byington said.
Warrick's intestines were inflated when he was born.
The recovery process was long.
He didn't take his first bottle until he was almost 1 year old.
Warrick's health improved, but when he was four, the family was hit with another blow – Warrick has autism.
"I had to have a mission," Byington said. "The overall picture was too scary to think about, and so I only focused on one thing at a time."
Warrick is high functioning and verbal.
He's pretty much like any other kid, and his mother says she wouldn't want him any other way.
He loves to build things and is thinking about going into engineering one day.
Through their journey Warrick's mom found a passion for helping others.
"I had to be his advocate because there was no one else," Byinton said. "I love being able to help other families."
Byington has big plans for Warrick.
"I want him to be able to have a job," Byington said. "That seems a long way down the road, but not when he's going to be eight years old."
His mother hopes in the future he can use his experience to help others.
"One of these days the experiences he had, even though he doesn't remember them, are going to be a testimony for him to be able to share."
Since then, the Byingtons have added two more boys to the family.
Warrick's mother says she knows around 30 other families who are going through both gastroschisis and autism. However, there is currently no scientifically proven link between the two.
Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android
Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.