EXTRAORDINARY ARRIVAL: TOMM TENNENT, THE BABY BORN WITH SKIN TO SPARE FOR A FIVE-YEAR-OLD

Remember Tomm? When he was born, he had enough skin for a 5-year-old kid. He was so wrinkled that the doctors were surprised and said they had never seen anything like it.

Tomm’s dad, Geoff Tennent, was shocked too. He said, “When he came out, I was quite shocked. I didn’t think a human, especially a little baby, could ever look like that,” in an interview with 60 Minutes Australia in 2003.

Since Tomm’s unique birth, it’s been a tough journey for him and his family. But if you see him today in 2021, it’s hard not to be moved and maybe even shed a tear…

In 1993, when Tomm Tennent was born in South East Australia, his parents quickly realized he was going to be a special baby.

Before he was born, no one knew that their boy would be called a medical mystery. But during ultrasounds, doctors saw that not everything was as it should be.

When Tomm’s parents heard this, they didn’t know if they should keep the child. Tomm’s dad, Geoff Tennent, said, “We talked about it and decided that whatever is meant to be will be. So, we went through with it.”

Even with all the tests and regular check-ups, nobody could have predicted how serious Tomm’s condition was. When his parents first saw him, they were surprised.

Tomm’s mom, Debbie Tennent, was shocked when they placed her son on her chest in the delivery room. She said, “My heart jumped to my throat, but at the same time, it was nice to pick him up and cuddle him.”

Doctors were puzzled by the boy born with too much skin. They couldn’t understand why Tomm had so much extra skin, and because of that, there was no treatment or cure. Initially, they hoped he would grow into his skin as he got older.

Because Tomm was so unique, researchers decided to spend time and money studying his case. They wanted to uncover the mystery behind his condition.

Tomm spent two and a half months in a medical center for tests and analysis. It was a big challenge for scientists because Tomm was the first child on record born with so much skin, and they didn’t have any previous cases to refer to.

It was a tough time for the Tennent family. No parent wants to spend months in the hospital with a newborn. Despite the challenges, Geoff and Debbie found strength by looking at their strong baby boy. Tomm always stayed a lovable toddler, unaware of his condition.

During this time, doctors did everything they could to figure out how to help Tomm with his medical issues. After investigating further, they found something unexpected. They noticed similarities between Tomm’s appearance and the Chinese dog breed Shar Pei. This discovery led to some important answers.

Researchers found that the level of Hyaluronic acid in Tomm’s skin was 100 times higher than normal, similar to Shar Pei puppies. For Shar Peis, these levels decrease as they grow up, resulting in a more normal skin appearance. Doctors hoped and prayed the same would happen for Tomm.

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