Baby born with brain outside skull has successful surgery

Posted: 01/31/13 at 5:45 pm EST

WAUKESHA, Wisc.(WHDH) -- The life of a baby from Wisconsin was saved by surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital.

Little Dominic was born last month with a condition that left part of his brain poking out of his skull.

“The outlook was grim. If he did make it to birth, he would live a couple of hours,” said Mary Gundrum.

Doctors discovered the rare condition before Dominic was even born and now thanks to some local surgeons, he's getting a shot at a normal life.

They are simple moments the Gundrum family cherishes. Moments they didn’t think their 7-month-old son Dominic would ever have.

The grim outlook started with a routine ultrasound that showed an irregularity.

“I think we were all afraid to talk about it for a little bit and my wife asked, ‘what’s that?’” said

It was a huge triangle shaped gap on Dominic's face. Part of his skull had not fused properly.

“When we learned from the doctor what it was it was just like we got hit with a…truck,” said Mark Gundrum.

When the Gndrum's eighth child was born, his facial cleft wasn't the only issue. Fluid had seeped through forming a bubble on his forehead and his brain was pushing out towards the roof of his mouth.

But the Gundrums didn't give up hope.

“We thought, maybe there’s a chance our son can make it,” said Mary Gundrum.

Hours of research lead the family to Boston's Children Hospital. A doctor there had performed the risky surgery before.

“We felt like really this was his best shot,” said Mark Gundrum.

Five months later they traveled to Boston, and Dominic had extensive facial reconstructive surgery.

“Handing my son over to them was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” said Mary Gundrum.

Hours in the operating room, the baby came through healthy.

“He is a miracle baby and it’s because of so many people praying for the little guy. I have no doubt about it,” said Mary Gundrum.

Now weeks after the surgery, Dominic has some scars, and a loving family helping him heal.

Dominic is back in Wisconsin, recovering at home. But, his doctor at Boston Children's Hospital is able to check up on him through a robot that allows him to video chat with the family and to see Dominic.

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