Twins Ethan and Ahren Masters were born identical, however, within weeks, Ethan began developing a birthmark across his face that nearly choked him to death.
The twin’s mum, Amanda, was left wondering about the aggressive red lump across Ethan’s face, and felt devastated as strangers called him “monster” and even accused her of burning her son.
What’s more horrifying was that Ethan’s birthmark was also silently spreading in his windpipe, eventually leaving just a 1mm gap for air to get through. “He was wheezing and didn’t seem right for a newborn baby. The birthmark kept getting bigger. At its largest, it covered half of his face,” Amanda said.
Amanda recalled that she had a fairly normal pregnancy with her twins. At 37 weeks, she was rushed to Eastbourne District General Hospital in the UK and after a 27 hour labour, the boys were born via a Caesarean section on April 2, 2009. Ethan was born a minute early than his twin, and weighed 6lb 7oz, while Ahren weighed 7lb.
At first, doctors got worried about Ahren as his heartbeat had stopped before the birth, so he was taken into a specialist unit and monitored for five days. When Ahren was treated, the family were over the moon as they brought home their two lovely boys.
However, a month later, Amanda noticed Ethan’s face started to get pink patches on it, so she took him to the GP, who reassured her that it was just a birthmark, but Amanda wasn’t so sure.
“Within weeks, the right side of his face, ear canal and the inside of his mouth was covered in a bright red lump. Usually strangers coo over your new babies, but people would be shocked when they looked at Ethan,” she said.
Soon, the birthmark got worse until Ethan began struggling to breathe with his mouth so badly covered that he could barely breastfeed.
Warning: Graphic image
When he was two months old, Ethan was taken back to Eastbourne General Hospital before being instantly referred to Evelina Children’s Hospital in central London. There, surgeons found out that the birthmark was also growing on his windpipe, blocking his airway.
“I couldn’t believe Ethan’s birthmark was choking him. The lack of oxygen meant he’d turn blue and nurses rushed to help him breathe,” Amanda said.
Because of this, the family were given a choice to trial a new treatment, or allow doctors to perform a tracheotomy, an incision in the windpipe to relieve an obstruction to breathing. The family chose the drug, and miraculously, within two weeks the bright red mark on Ethan’s face had shrunk, and within a month, the baby was back home with his twin.
Now, aged seven, one can barely see the once aggressive birthmark on Ethan’s face that almost choked him, and he and Ahren are thriving.