DENVER (KDVR) — Baby Grace Martz is now 3 months old and doing well. 

“She’s a very happy baby. She’s doing great,” said her mother, Jackie Martz.

When Martz was pregnant, doctors diagnosed her baby with gastroschisis, a birth defect that allows the intestines to spill out of a hole in the abdominal wall and grow outside the body. The condition occurs in about one in 2,000 babies born each year.

When Grace was born, doctors at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver were prepared. About three hours after birth, Grace went into surgery.


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“They made a small incision and shoved the intestines back in, and in the process, they actually found that her fallopian tube and ovary were also hanging out,” Jackie Martz said.

Dr. Sarah Lai performed the surgery.

“Her intestines were very, very bloated, and although I was able to take her to the operating room and get everything back in, it was just a little bit too tight,” Lai said.

So, Lai left a bit of intestine outside the body in a silo bag for a few days until the bloating went down, then she put everything back inside and sewed up the baby, leaving just a 1-inch scar that will serve as a belly button.

Grace was in the neonatal intensive care unit for four weeks, but once her intestines started to function and she could eat well, she was able to go home.

“There shouldn’t be any long-term effects,” her mother said.

But the baby’s parents are aware of one possible quirk.

“Her appendix might be on a different side because when they put it all in, from what we understand, it’s just kind of in there and things could be in different spots,” said Matt Martz, Grace’s father.

One thing is for sure — it will make for an interesting story.

“We’re excited to see her grow up,” her dad said. “We’re excited to see her have a normal life.”