BOSTON, MA -- When Bentley Yoder was born, his parents arrived at the hospital with nothing but an outfit to bury him in. After all, Sierra and Dustin Yoder said, they had been told for months their son would not live long after birth. In fact, they said doctors were shocked he made it to birth at all.
Sierra Yoder told ABC News that Bentley was diagnosed in utero with encephalocele, a neural tube defect that keeps the skull from fully closing and, as a result, leaves the brain protruding from the head.
"It was a very dark time," she said. "There was no hope he would survive."
But survive he did. Though she had not dared to hope - and in fact she said she had scheduled an abortion at the advice of doctors and then changed her mind - Bentley being a survivor was something she felt all along.
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Baby thriving despite condition thought incompatible with life
(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children's Hospital)