Meet Eli, the baby born without a nose! Known as congenital arhinia, this rare malformation affects just 1 in 197 million — and Eli has become quite the celebrity because of it!
Though he began breathing normally through his mouth immediately after birth, doctors performed a tracheotomy to make it easier for him. His mom, Brandi McGlathery, said the procedure helped tremendously.
“He’s been a much happier baby [after the surgery]," McGlathery told the 'Mobile Press-Register' — though it's been a huge adjustment for the new mom who must keep a constant eye on the infant because he doesn't make noise when he cries.
According to a 2014 article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there have only been 43 known cases of congenital arhinia since the first was reported in 1931. McGlathery has already contacted some of them as well as parents of babies born without noses to gain more information.
Eli and McGlathery.
For now, she and Eli's father, Troy Thompson, have elected not to do any plastic surgery until he can make the decision for himself.
“Until the day he wants to have a nose, we don’t want to touch him,” she told the newspaper. “We have to take it day by day. He’s perfect the way he is.”
Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe page to help with the years of medical expenses ahead. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $9,000 has been raised.
And the best news? Eli got to go home for the first time on Monday! See more photos of the cutie on his Facebook page.