Courtney and Evan Westlake were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their second child, a baby girl. The pregnancy had gone well and according to the ultrasounds everything was normal. The day Courtney gave birth, however, brought them a big surprise. Their little girl Brenna was born with a skin condition called Harlequin ichthyosis. This is how they are overcoming their little girl’s condition and educating others on a different kind of beauty.
A Shock On Delivery Day
In 2011, When Courtney went into labor with her second child Brenna, she and her husband Evan were excited. They were finally going to meet their baby girl and their son Connor’s little sister. When Courtney gave birth, however, she couldn’t even hold her little girl. The doctors had to whisk Brenna off to intensive care. She wasn’t moving, she had an extremely high temperature, and her body was covered in sores and thick white scales. It was two weeks before they could hold their little girl. (1)
After an examination by the doctors, Courtney and Evan learned that Brenna was born with a hereditary disease called Harlequin ichthyosis. Essentially, this disease causes Brenna’s body to produce skin at a rate 10 times faster than normal. This, naturally, causes a number of problems.
Read: Dad without Arms and Legs Raises 2 Daughters after Their Mom Abandoned Them as Babies
What Is Harlequin Ichthyosis?
Harlequin ichthyosis is a serious genetic condition that primarily affects the skin. With this condition, a baby is born with plates of thick skin that crack and split apart. They can pull at and distort facial features, as well as cause problems with breathing and eating. The child’s skin will be red and swollen. They are also unable to sweat, which means being outside in hot weather can be very dangerous. There is currently no known cure for the condition. (2)
A Different Life
The Westlake’s daily life naturally looks quite different now than what they expected it to be as a family of four. Before Brenna was born, Evan joked about having to learn to braid hair. Now, his nightly routine is gently bathing her with a cloth to wipe away extra skin and combing what little hair she is able to grow.