“Each day that he was with us, was another miracle and blessing.”
Travis Lee Boles, Trisomy 18, 10/12/11 – 11/27/11, Amarillo, TX
Travis Lee Boles decided he was ready to meet his anxiously awaiting mommy and daddy and made his big debut on October 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm. After six hours of complicated labor, he was born by C-section and weighed an alarming 4 pounds and was 18 inches long. When Travis was born, he was not breathing so the doctors had to resuscitate him. Once he started breathing, he was wrapped in a blanket and was handed over to his daddy. I wasn’t able to hold him because I was strapped to a table but Justin held him against my face so I could see the product of our love, our son, before they rushed him to the NICU. It would be another 24 hours before I would have the opportunity of seeing Travis again. But he was not alone, Justin stayed and watched over his son and even made a video of his first hours so it would remain captured forever.
During his stay at the hospital, Travis was having apnea episodes where he would stop breathing but found strength and would start breathing again. Unfortunately, these episodes became more frequent as time passed and no one was sure what was going on with our baby. Unprepared for what we were about to learn, seven long, agonizing days later we found out that he had a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18, where he had 3 chromosomes in the 18th position instead of the normal pair. Trisomy 18 is the second most common chromosome disorder, after Trisomy 21 (also known as Down Syndrome). Unlike Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 is fatal, with two-thirds of the babies not making it to term and 90 percent of those typically live no more than a few months. We did not discover in advance that our baby had this disease so we had no time to prepare intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. We learned that for T18 babies, it is as if they don’t quite get finished developing. For example, their brains are not properly developed; certain neurons don’t make it all the way to the outside of the brain but remain in little clusters throughout the brain. This means that they will frequently have problems doing basic, instinctive, functions like sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Some other typical problems are holes in the heart that don’t close, and organs that don’t properly connect to each other. Additionally, T18 babies are usually small, as if they stopped developing and growing about the 7th month in utero. So we decided to focus on making his time here with us as comfortable as possible until he was called home to Heaven. From the devastation of finding out that Travis had a genetic defect to the helplessness of knowing that he could not live, we cried. Our spiritual preparation would prove to be the most challenging, wondering why our baby! We knew we must remain faithful and had Travis baptized into Christ so we would all be joined together again in Heaven when our time comes. Amazingly, Travis decided he would fight to stay awhile and began to breathe stronger and stronger until he was breathing on his own. Travis would spend his first 13 days of life in NICU and on October 25th, we got to leave the hospital carrying our precious son.
An Angel on Earth – It was the best day of my life, Travis was home with his family and I was blessed to be a mommy and take care of an angel on earth. Travis was a gift, as if on loan, and we decided to just hold him and love him every possible minute. We were given time to create precious memories and experience normal activities: giving him baths, introducing him to friends and family, feeding and changing him. Luckily, we have pictures of all of it too. We had time to bond with our baby and his sisters even got a chance to know their baby brother. He has the best sisters in the world and they sure love him. There was no opportunity to be too exhausted, we held him all the time, even throughout the night. Each day that he was with us, was another miracle and blessing.