A MUM nicknamed her daughter 'baby Hulk' after she was born with an enormous chest and arms.
Armani Milby had to be delivered by emergency C-section at 33 weeks after being diagnosed with a severe form of lymphangioma.
The rare congenital health condition causes non-cancerous, fluid-filled growths in the lymph vessels.
It left Armani with a swollen upper body, which mum Chelsey said caused her to look like a little bodybuilder – leading her to give the tot the affectionate moniker mini, or baby, Hulk.
The 33-year-old said: "When I saw her, I cried because I had never seen anything like that. I was just shocked.
"But I didn’t care what she looked like, I loved her anyway."
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Brave Armani, now nine months old, was born weighing 12lbs – more than three times the average-sized baby at that point in gestation.
Chelsey said people regularly thought she was expecting triplets because of the colossal size of her bump.
Late in her pregnancy when she reached 14st 4lbs, things got so bad that she cried daily and struggled to move.
"My body was shutting down," she said.
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"I suffered every day. I could never sleep. I was extremely sick.
"It was getting harder to live life and actually breathe because I was so uncomfortable as I had to keep getting fluid drained out of my stomach."
Chelsey discovered her daughter had lymphangioma following an ultrasound at the 17-week mark.
Doctors were concerned about possible fluid around her heart and potential future breathing or vision problems, but the family held out hope for the unborn child.
Thankfully, it's now thought Armani's condition is treatable with surgery.
Chelsey, from Campbellsville in Kentucky, US, said: "I had never, ever heard of the diagnosis before and honestly, after looking into it, I didn't really like the results with some of the pictures.
"I was devastated, I was heartbroken, and I didn't understand what happened because I had two other healthy babies so I cried every day.
"Abortion was mentioned to us but we never considered it. We just wanted to know how we could help her when she was born.
"[Doctors] literally gave her a zero per cent chance; they said she wouldn’t make it and that she probably wouldn’t be crying when she came out."
I cried when I saw her because I was shocked. But I don't care what she looks like, I love her anyway
But at 33 weeks, Chelsey had a caesarean section, and Armani entered the world bawling her eyes out.
"It was a surprise to everyone," she said.
"I was screaming and crying. I was just a wreck, it was horrible.
"In the back of our minds, Armani's dad Blake and I were wondering what was going to happen.
"However, she just shocked us all and proved us all wrong.
"Everybody in the room was emotional. It's a very magical story."
After Armani was born, the family moved more than 100 miles away to Cincinnati, Ohio, to live in a specialist hospital for three months.
Slowly, against all odds, the youngster began to recover.
Chelsey said: "I battled postpartum depression really badly and I had to push that away to try to be the strongest person I could be for her and for my other two kids.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride and I still struggle a little bit every day."
Armani has had large amounts of excess fluid removed from her body, but she is still left with extra skin.
She weighs 21lbs and wears clothes that are made for babies twice her age.
The tot is now scheduled for surgery later this year which will see medics extract additional lymphatic vessels to help shrink her body.
She will then need an operation to remove the leftover skin.
'WE LOVE HER SO MUCH'
Chelsey is delighted with her daughter's progress so far and sees a bright, pain-free future for her.
"Now she’s squishy, I just call her my little squishy baby. She’s doing very well," she said.
"She has a lot of extra skin, but it'll all go away and she'll be a normal-looking baby.
"She got lucky. She’s not deformed or anything like that.
"She’s happy. She hardly ever cries unless she wants to be held.
"We’re trying to do everything for this baby and give her the best life possible.
"She finally rolled over and she’s trying to say ‘momma’, I’m pretty sure, she’s getting really close.
"She’s doing wonderfully. She literally is my miracle baby, and we just love her so much."
Lymphangiomas, also called lymphatic malformations, are non-cancerous cysts that occur in lymphatic vessels.
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They most commonly appear in the head or neck.
Healthline estimates the condition affects one in 4,000 births.
What is lymphangioma?
Lymphangioma, also called lymphatic malformations, are non-cancerous, fluid-filled cysts that occur in lymphatic vessels.
These contain a substance called lymph, which helps properly regulate fluid in body tissue and fight infections.
Lymphangiomas most commonly appear in the head or neck, but they can affect anywhere in the body.
Initially, they can show as tiny red or blue dots, but can develop into significant and deforming swelling and masses.
They are usually apparent at birth, or by age two.
Several potential health complications exist, such as speech difficulties, double vision, breathing trouble and chest pain.
Treatment usually involves surgery, sclerotherapy, laser therapy and/or radiofrequency ablation.
The condition affects an estimated one in 4,000 births.
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