A baby boy born without skin is continuing to thrive after his parents fought for his right to live.
When Priscilla Maldonado and Marvin Gray first learned they were expecting their third child together, they took comfort in knowing all of his tests came back normal. However, at 37-weeks gestation, a routine scan revealed that their baby boy had stopped gaining weight and his heart rate had begun to slow.
As a result, Maldonado was rushed into an emergency c-section. Their baby boy, Ja’bari, was born weighing just three pounds on January 1. His skin had only formed on his head, face, and parts of his legs and arms, feet, and hands were fused together and his eyes were fused shut.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, Maldanado recalled Ja’bari’s birth being “completely silent” and unlike anything she experienced while giving birth to her two older children. Not sure if Ja’bari would survive or ever recover, doctors told Maldanado and Gray that they should consider “pulling the plug,” something the parents could never even consider doing.
In an interview with ABC 13, Maldanado said “if it wasn’t his purpose to be here, he would have been gone from birth or even before birth, so he does have a purpose in this world and we never know what it is until the future.” Ja’bari was then transferred from San Antonio to Houston in order to find a hospital better equipped to care for him.
After being transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital, Ja’bari and his parents fought for his survival. His mom explained that his name stands for “fighter and warrior.”
And over the last 10 months, Ja’bari has exhibited the strength of 100 warriors as he endured extensive skin graft surgery and more at Texas Children’s Hospital. Maldanado told ABC 13 that the surgery “was the first transplant ever that’s been done in his situation and on a baby his age.”
Ja’bari has also undergone two procedures on his eyes, but both times it was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, despite more surgeries looming on the horizon, the baby boy continues to improve every day.
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Now he’s wearing clothes, he’s able to experience skin-to-skin contact, and for the first time since his birth 10 months ago, Maldanado says she is finally able to kiss her baby boy.
“Now you can kiss him, touch him, do all that stuff. He got to wear his first set of clothes now, so he’s getting there.”
Doctors are still unclear as to why Ja’bari was born without skin. But despite still being surrounded by a lot of unknowns, one thing is for sure, Ja’bari is set to go home with his family for the first time on October 27. “God is so good.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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