AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – When little Wesley McDonald, of Louisville, was born in November 2021, he appeared to be in perfect health.

But when he was two months old, his parents noticed a small bump on his temple and asked his pediatrician about it.

“She said, ‘Oh yes, something doesn’t look right with the shape of his skull. Let me refer you to Akron Children’s,” said Wesley’s mother, Katelyn McDonald.

It was during a CT scan at Akron Children’s Hospital that doctors discovered that Wesley had a rare condition called craniosynostosis.

“There are two main bone plates in the forehead, two in the back and one way back. The five main bone plates that are separated by six growth centers and in Wesley’s case, one of those growth centers was not present and functioning the way it should have been,” said Dr. Niyant Patel, a pediatric plastic surgeon at Akron Children’s. “If the brain is growing and the skull does not allow it to, it actually causes a restriction in that area.”

“It was very terrifying, especially since we are both new parents and we have never heard of that diagnosis before,” Wesley’s mom said.

Doctors then told Wesley’s parents that he would need surgery. The medical team at Akron Children’s performed the sensitive operation in October.

“To move that bone in the skull to a more typical position and then resetting it, so that A, his appearance is improved, and B, the brain no longer has that restrictive area,” said Dr. Patel.

When Wesley’s parents saw their son immediately after the operation, his mom said, “that was very hard and I still have that image of him in my head. No one wants to see their baby like that, so it was very sad.”

Wesley’s parents were initially worried when doctors told them they could take him home the day after the surgery. 

“They just told us to keep up on his medicine and make him comfortable and just give him lots of cuddles and care,” said his mom.

It turns out that Wesley is a resilient baby. The now 13-month-old boy has quickly recovered.

“Amazing, I just think we have the best little boy ever and I just can’t believe he did so well with that surgery,” said Katelyn McDonald.

Wesley’s parents are sharing their story in the hope it will serve as an inspiration for other families.

“Especially parents going through surgery with their baby or child and this time of year, it just makes people feel very good, so I’m happy we can put a smile on people’s faces,” his mother said.