— -- Eli Thompson came into this world in the late afternoon of March 4, perfectly healthy, but with one distinction -- he didn't have a nose.
"The day I delivered, everything went fine," mom Brandi McGlathery told ABC News today. "At 4:42 when he was born, he came out and the doctor put him on my chest. When I took a closer look at him, I said, 'He doesn't have a nose,' and they took him out of the room."
McGlathery said that her doctor sat beside her bed to explain to her what was wrong with Eli.
"He had the most apologetic look on his face," she said. "I knew right away that something was wrong."
Although her baby showed no signs of additional abnormalities, McGlathery said she was at first shocked and upset to hear the news from her doctor.
Dr. R. Craig Brown, McGlathery's obstetrician, said his own research has revealed only 38 cases of "absolutely nothing being wrong other than no nose." That's very, very rare.
"I've seen facial abnormalities, cleft lip and palate, but this is the first time I've seen a case with just no nose," Brown told ABC News.
McGlathery became Brown's patient early in her pregnancy, he said, noting that the 23-year-old mom of three showed no signs of a high risks, and tests showed Eli to have a nasal bone.
"She came in right at 37 weeks and went into labor," Brown said. "Once I delivered him and we cleaned him off I could tell something wasn't right, but I didn't want to alarm her."
Other than not having a nose, "he's doing great," Brown said. "He's a super cute kid and you could tell he was fighting."
"I recounted everything I did throughout my pregnancy to figure out if i did something wrong," McGlathery said. "I realized it was nothing anyone did. I mean, he's perfect. I'm not going to say I was sad. I was just scared for him because I didn't think he'd make it."
Because Eli was born without a nose, he must use a tracheostomy, a tube that will assist his breathing.
McGlathery said she and her family have all been trained in controlling her child's equipment, and all received CPR training.
"After I realized nothing wrong was him health-wise, I was scared what other people would say," McGlathery said. "I don't ever want my son to come home and say 'mommy, somebody made fun of my nose.' But I also don't want others to pity him."
On March 30, McGlathery brought Eli home and she said he's been doing wonderfully since.
"He's an extremely happy baby and does cute stuff all the time," she said. "There's a reason aside from his health issue and not having a nose as to why we call him our miracle baby. He just tugs on people's heart strings. It's his demeanor."
"I don't think my son will ever have an idea of how much he's impacted people," McGlathery added. "He's definitely started something and has got a big purpose in life. He's going to have one hell of a testimony to tell people one day."