Mother previously unable to kiss baby born without skin sees new hope after successful transplant procedures

After a successful skin transplant at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, 10-month-old Ja’bari Gray’s mother is thankful she can finally kiss her infant boy. 

The baby born with areas of his body missing a lot of skin was brought from San Antonio to Houston in order to receive his life-saving operation.

“He literally from the neck down, from the front and back nothing, there was no skin and even parts of his legs, he had no skin,”  said Priscilla Maldonado, mother of the baby.

Born with a weight of just 3 pounds, the New Year’s Day toddler has already scored a win against the odds.

The mother says specialists told her only two other babies like her boy have been born in the United States, and neither of them survived.

After spending the first three months of his life in a Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in San Antonio, Ja’bari’s doctors told his family to get ready for the worst outcome.

But Maldonado refused to give up.

“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,” Maldonado said.

The baby boy also suffers from additional complications. His eyes are stuck shut and even tough his skin has started growing by itself, his toes, fingers, and neck became fused while in the NICU.

Then, the Texas Children’s Hospital decided to intervene.

Maldonado says there wasn’t a sign of anything out of place during her pregnancy, and they only saw the abnormalities after the baby was born. Thus, he was aptly named Ja’bri, which she says, means ‘fighter.

“It actually means fighter and warrior, and that name was given to him by his grandfather, which we didn’t even know what his condition was, and come to find out it fits exactly what he’s going through,” Maldonado told Eyewitness News.

Ja’bri’s new skin was artificially grown inside a lab in Boston that specializes in burn victims. His case was a first according to Maldonado.

“That was the first transplant ever that’s been done in his situation and on a baby his age,” proudly said the mother.

The successful transplant procedure meant Maldonado could finally embrace her little boy skin-to-skin for the very first time.

“It was heartwarming, because he was crying when he was laying down, but as soon as I picked him up and had the skin-to-skin contact and put him on my chest, he just stopped crying,” she said.

Ja’bari currently does not take pain medication and can breathe without needing assistance.

“Now you can kiss him, touch him, do all that stuff,” Maldonado said. “He got to wear his first set of clothes now, so he’s getting there.”

Ja’bri’s big brother, Jaden was given the chance to hold him for two hours recently so he could get in on all the love.

The baby seems healthy and now weighs nearly 18 pounds, but he still has a long way to go.

After two surgeries to open Ja’bri’s eyelids, they closed themselves again. His arms, his right hand, right foot and neck will all require further intervention to be separated.

Despite all the hurdles, Maldonado stays positive while celebrating every little step forward.

“Making coo sounds that normal babies would do, he’s interacting with us,” she said. “Even though he can’t see us and stuff, he’s still interacting.”

You can see abc13s report on the story in the video below.

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