Sister Wives star Maddie Brown is opening up about a painful part of her life: her baby daughter’s FATCO syndrome diagnosis.
Speaking to PEOPLE, the mom of two revealed that Evangalynn Kodi Brush — whom she welcomed on August 20 — was diagnosed with “oligodactyly, a congenital anomaly defined as the presence of fewer than five fingers on a hand.”
“There were lots of emotions,” Maddie, 23, said, “but I was also relieved because there could have been a whole lot more wrong.
The star — who is the daughter of polygamous couple Kody and Janelle Brown — recalled the moment the doctor first alerted her of her daughter’s condition. Prior to giving birth, Maddie said she went in for a routine ultrasound. Though these usually take up to 45 minutes, the doctor looked at the baby for about two hours on the small screen and told Maddie that he couldn’t find the baby’s 10 fingers.
Once Evangalynn was born, her condition became more apparent.
The baby girl is missing a thumb, a toe, and one leg is missing a fibula (calfbone) and a tibia (shinbone).
Maddie said she and husband Caleb Brush were “shocked” when they first heard their daughter’s diagnosis — despite the fact that doctors warned them about possible abnormalities when they began trying to conceive — and once she was born, Maddie began feeling “guilty.”
“I’m like ‘How did this happen? Did I drink too much soda pop?’” she said she asked herself.
She also recalled the moment doctors rushed into her birthing suite to check up on Evangalynn, who had just been born.
“I was just sitting there trying to comprehend what’s going on, having just had a baby as they are bringing in all the specialists. I was freaking out,” said Maddie.
The baby was then diagnosed with fibular aplasia, tibial campomelia, and oligosyndactyly syndrome. “There will be limitations but not huge hindrances,” explained Maddie.
Immediately upon learning of her daughter’s condition, Maddie said she “went into Google mode” and began looking for cures and ways to help her. She said she told her husband “let’s give her the best life possible.”
Still, there are many unanswered questions and Maddie wonders if Evangalynn’s condition will result in more issues for her in the future.
“It’s abnormal, and it catches people off guard, but I want her to grow up and feel proud about who she is. If I’m hiding this to protect her, is it really helpful?” Maddie told the outlet. “She is a really happy baby, and she smiles and laughs all the time. We are so blessed and grateful.”