She was about halfway through her pregnancy when her baby was given a devastating diagnosis. The ultrasound revealed what doctors thought to be malformed brain tissue.
Arrian and Drew Corpstein sought a second opinion. That doctor determined their unborn baby, whom they named Matthew, had formed more than a brainstem, but said his brain had not divided into two halves, according to the Des Moines Register.
The best outcome, according Dr. Jona Conklin, who worked with the Corpsteins, “was the baby would only live a few days.” So doctors gave the couple a few options, the primary being abortion.
But the Corpsteins are devout Christians and knew from the beginning terminating the pregnancy was not an option for them. Arrian Corpstein said aborting their unborn son “didn’t feel like it was my decision to make.”
“We knew that our baby was probably not going to be born alive,” she said. “Whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands.”
And that is exactly where the Corpsteins put their faith and hope — in God’s hands.
Arrian Corpstein carried their baby to term, chronicling her pregnancy alongside her husband. Then, after three days of labor, she gave birth to Matthew on Sunday, July 29.
He’s still alive today.
Drew Corpstein delivered their baby boy. Moments after his birth, he placed their newborn child on Arrian Corpstein’s chest, where he immediately exceeded expectations. Little Matthew latched onto his mother’s breast almost instantly.
“The nurses rated him a 10 out of 10 on that,” Arrian Corpstein recalled. “They told us normal newborns don’t do that well.”
After consulting with the neonatal intensive care unit, the Corpsteins reluctantly decided to allow doctors to give their little boy an MRI. Drew Corpstein said he thought their time with Matthew “was limited,” so he didn’t want to give him up for the length of the test.
Jan Fick, a nurse who has helped deliver 3,500 babies and changed 800,000 diapers in her 36 years of experience, convinced them it was important for Matthew to have an MRI.
And she was right. The test proved the baby had been misdiagnosed.
Little Matthew’s brain was completely formed, but he did have fluid buildup in his skull that pushed his brain to the side of his head. A neurosurgeon said the problem could be fixed by inserting a shunt to drain the fluid.
“He said he performed 30 of these surgeries a year and that he believed Matthew’s brain would return to its normal position,” Arrian Corpstein said. “He said Matthew had every chance at a normal life.”
Conklin noted that this is a “very rare case,” adding most prenatal diagnoses are correct.
Baby Matthew returned to the neonatal intensive care unit on Aug. 19, where he will likely stay for a few weeks. Not long after he was born, he developed meningitis — inflammation of the brain — and his shunt had to be temporarily removed.
On Sunday, Drew Corpstein said their son is improving.
If you or anyone you know would like to donate to Matthew’s medical care, you can do so through this GoFundMe page.