Trevino Family SOS
Ryan and Becca have always wanted to be parents, and went through quite a trial to have a family. They both wanted to have biological children, but also wanted to adopt. Just like most young couples, they thought they would have no trouble getting pregnant. After four years of trying and four miscarriages, and the realization that regular adoption channels were beyond their financial means, they began to worry that parenting wasn't in their future. They were devastated.
Then, one day, everything changed.
They were approached for a private adoption, which made the option affordable for the first time. They were ecstatic, and fell immediately in love with baby Amelia, growing in her birth mom's belly.
Then things got really exciting!
Within the same week that they agreed to adopt baby Amelia, Becca found out she was pregnant with baby Sebastian! Something that she and Ryan had been told, by doctors and experience, was not possible without intervention. Becca was 10 weeks in gestation behind the birth mom from whom they would be adopting.
They were shocked, slightly terrified, and filled with questions.They worried about money, and space and ability to parent babies who would essentially be twins. But they took a deep breath, and realized how blessed they were, and got excited about both babies they had on the way.
Everything was going great, up until Becca's 19th week of pregnancy, when they found out Sebastian had a congenital heart defect called Ebstein's Anomaly. This condition is very rare, and there is a very wide range of severity. The anomaly is a displaced tricuspid valve, causing many cardiac complications. Becca and Ryan were very scared, and the future became unsure. There was no way to know if Sebastian would make it, or how sick he would be if he did. Many people, knowing the logistical and financial struggles Becca and Ryan would face, asked them if they still planned to adopt baby Amelia.
If you know Becca and Ryan, you know a deal is a deal. They had made a commitment to a birth mother and a baby, and already loved Amelia as the baby of their hearts. They never considered, for one second, giving her back because they were now having "their own" baby. Amelia was, from the moment they found out about her, their own, as much as the baby Sebastian, growing in Becca, was their own. So, they took many more deep breaths, and prepared themselves as much as possible, for what was to come.
Throughout Becca's pregnancy, she was seen by several doctors, a cardiologist, her regular OB, and several other high risk pregnancy doctors. Becca and Ryan both work very hard and have insurance, but insurance would only cover some of the pregnancy, some of the birth, and some of the continued care Sebastian would need once he was born. It covered none of the adoption expenses Becca and Ryan were prepared for before life threw them this curve ball.
Becca's pregnancy was a whirlwind. Other than monitoring Sebastian, there was nothing to do but gestate and wait! It was an intense time, but they made it through...
Their daughter, Amelia Nicole, was born June 23rd, 2013. They brought her home on the 24th. The night the Blackawks took the cup! They'll never forget! She has been an amazing blessing for them, and they can't imagine a better fit for their family.
When Becca was 38 weeks the cardiologist determined that Sebastian had become too high risk to stay in the womb. Keeping cooking that long was great for an Ebstein's baby, and is a testament to Sebastian's immediate will to survive, Becca and Ryan's determination and extensive research, and the skill of the doctors they found.
Becca was induced on August 27th at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Chicago. Her birth was followed closely, and was extremely risky. It was not easy. She was incredibly brave, and Ryan was his usual awesome, supportive self. I had the pleasure to be there as their son was born. They had been told to expect a "blue baby". He would be born unable to breathe, and would be put on a ventilator immediately, perhaps in need of immediate cardiac surgery.
Sebastian Wallace was born on August 30th, 2013. It was amazing. He defied all odds and was born pink and breathing. He didn't cry right away. I watched him gingerly test his lungs, taking tiny breaths, then bigger ones, and then whimpering, then giving quiet reassuring cries. Smart and intuitive from the very beginning.
Becca and Ryan got to hold their little boy; something for which they hadn't dared to hope.
I watched him take a moment to make eye contact with his mom and dad, and was honored when he did the same with me. He gave us all a quick hello with those amazing eyes, and was rushed away for testing and taken to the NICU. Sebastian was extremely blessed to have great doctors who knew what to expect. They had Becca deliver at Advocate Christ Hospital because it has one of the best cardiac units in the country. Sebastian was expected to be in the NICU 2 hours away from his home for up to a year. The family was blessed again, to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital.
Sebastian, being Sebastian, defied all expectations again, and came home after only a few weeks in the NICU. Becca and Ryan were told that he would still need cardiac surgery, but that he could go home to gain weight and get strong. This was great news, but scary news. Sebastian is fragile and needs around the clock monitoring, and a special high calorie diet, that is very expensive. Along with Ebstein's, Sebastian also has calcium deposits on his brain from oxygen deprivation he experienced in the womb, and he has a second genetic anomaly, called Klinefelter's Syndrome. These issues will cause Sebastian to have developmental delays. The family doesn't know to what extent. The therapy that Sebastian needs in order to have the best possible chance is also very expensive.
So far, Sebastian has already had one trip back to Advocate Christ, where he stayed for a few days, to work out feeding issues. the family was welcomed back the The Ronald McDonald House, and the four of them got to room together since Sebastian was not in the NICU. There are sure to be more trips and stays like this to come, each one very expensive, and then at least one open heart surgery, the cost of which, at this point, is incalculable.
So far the news has been fantastic, but the doctors continue to warn the family that they have a long, hard, costly road ahead of them in keeping Sebastian healthy and thriving. Becca and Ryan feel so blessed to have both their babies home, but their circumstances are challenging, to say the least.
Becca is at home caring for an extremely fragile newborn who needs around the clock cardiac support and numerous services to keep him going and growing as he approaches his surgery. His development is challenged because of the issues I already mentioned, and because so much of his energy is taken up simply by his struggle to breathe. He is very sensitive and gets over-stimulated very easily. He is a sweet, sweet boy who requires a great deal of very specific care.
His sister, who is also a newborn, is home with them, growing and developing like a champ. She is a ray of sunshine, and a happy girl. Ryan is back to work, and is home whenever he can be, and has taken time off for the births and for the time in the NICU and the trip back to the hospital. He has run out of paid time off. Every day he is home with his family is a day he doesn't get paid. Balancing all of this is challenging for a family without the means to hire an extra set of hands; a family already paying off doctor and hospital bills from Becca's pregnancy and birth, and lawyer's fees for Amelia's adoption, all the while knowing that the necessity for services will be ever present, and the bills will keep coming.
This hardworking, blessed, happy family has found themselves in the position where we have all been. The one where life is what happens when we're busy making plans. Please help them to afford the medical bills and lawyer's fees that made this family possible, and the medical bills and bills for therapeutic services that will keep Sebastian healthy and ensure that both babies, and mom and dad get what they need to be strong during this long journey.
Thanks in advance. We will keep you updated!
Through sickness and health, hospital visits, and time at home, the Trevino family keeps on keeping on. Please read their story and updates, and help them out. My inspirations!
But, Becca and Ryan experienced what so many do when they need money to help with family medical expenses. They have felt paralyzing guilt, and worse, they have felt shame.
The kids doing so well and they are full of joy and fun. And while Sebastian is still seriously ill, he has continued to exceed all expectations.
How, they asked themselves, can we ask for more, when we have been blessed, and have received so much? How can we justify not standing on our own? Many people have already been so kind...and there are families out there who have lost their heart
babies, or who have babies sicker than Basti? How do we not hang our heads when we have to ask for more help?
With their permission, I am answering those questions, and updating all of the people who have been so generous, and hoping to reach more with the Trevino's inspiring story.
I want to tell all the families out there who are dealing with chronic illness and staggering medical bills the same thing I told Becca and Ryan. It is brave to ask for help. I know it is hard when we take pride in standing on our own. But there comes a
time, when faced with seemingly insurmountable problems and needs, especially when those needs are the needs of our children, that we do what is brave. We set down the pride and self-reliance, and we admit we need help.
There is no shame in asking for help. If you ﬁnd yourself in a place where you can't do it on your own, please refuse to let shame into your heart. Acknowledge that you have been asked to face extraordinarily difﬁcult circumstances you could not have predicted, and for which you could not have prepared. Believe that you have been brave beyond
reason, and beautiful in the face of the terror of losing your precious baby. There cannot be shame in that. Please, refuse to let there be in that.
Sadly, when the day comes that you are ready to accept help, and are brave enough to ask for it, there are people who will try to bring that shame screaming back. People who will ask "Why do you get? Why do you deserve?" Please know that these people are broken. Your story has scared them, and caused them to forget where they put their humanity. They are trapped children, who should be in your prayers, but not allowed to invade your conscience.
Why you? Because your baby is sick. Why do you deserve? Because every day is a battle. And every day you get up and ﬁght it. Don't you let them shame you. They have no right.
I am telling the Trevino's and every family who is struggling, that it is brave, right, and kind to ask for help. To reach out to the world and admit you can't do it on your own. To offer others the opportunity to give. It is an amazing feeling to help. SO, please, let
others help you. They need and want to. In doing so, you also show others who are struggling that it is
okay to ask for assistance.
Becca and Ryan are hard workers, but there just isn't a way to keep up with the staggering expenses that come with having a heart baby and a fantastic sister of a heart baby. If you, too, are in this situation, I know your own heart is sinking, and you feel like you should be able to do it on your own. Know it's okay if it's not possible, and it's not
Please, let your village do what your village is supposed to do, and what your village wants to do. Let them help you. Someday your situation will be different, and you will be able to pay it forward. You will get to be the giver. But, for right now, I ask you to be something divine. I ask you to be one who receives. One who receives with grace, and instead of feeling shame, allows yourself to be ﬁlled with only gratitude. And a knowing that you deserve help. This is what sharing our lives is about. If you will not receive, to whom can we give? If we cannot
give, how can we experience our deepest humanity?
I also ask, if you are at that time in your life that you are able to pay it forward, that you please help the Trevinos. As I said, Sebastian is, blessedly, still with us, and is and making great strides; but he is an expensive miracle to maintain.
The costs that come with being a heart baby are persistent and overwhelming. A simple cold can turn into days in the hospital, and there are check-ups, and medications, and therapies that help Sebastian ﬁght the good ﬁght against his heart defect, kidney issues, and chromosomal anomalies.
All the while, as the bills pile up, in spite of the hardest work of these parents; they know they have not yet opened the door to the unthinkable expense of the surgeries that are surely to come. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in a year or so. Maybe one surgery. More likely, several.
Ryan must work, sick baby, or no sick baby. Becca cares for two babies every day, which can be overwhelming on its own. She cannot afford the experienced help that would offer her a much needed rest. Along with the challenges of everyday family life, they face the knowledge that Sebastian is very sick, and none of us knows what his future holds. They face the knowledge that Amelia has a brother who has special needs, and the worry that her equally important needs will get buried in that avalanche of life worries and illness worries. And while worrying about those truly serious issues, sadly, they also have to worry about money.
We can't heal Sebastian, but we can ease, at least some, the heavy ﬁnancial burden. I ask again, for this family, who are my heroes, and my inspiration, that you please help them. Help them to worry about one less thing.
Love to them. and Love to you. Love to the givers. and All The Love to the Receivers.
You are my brave heroes.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and generosity. It has brought the Trevino's strength when they really needed it. They have been most humbled by the fact that the majority of donations have come from strangers. What a blessing to know their story has touched so many.
Baby Sebastian is making great strides. He is doing much better on his high calorie formula, and his therapies are helping a lot. He has spent most of his life with his eyes closed, and now his mom and dad get to see his beautiful eyes, and he is starting to smile!
Amelia is as much a ray of sunshine as ever. She is developing like a champ and starting to interact with her baby brother.
The family still has a long way to go. They just found out that Sebastian's kidneys are enlarged, and, as is common in situations like this, wont know what that means for them for a while, and, of course, we all look toward his heart surgeries. It will be so exciting to see what he can do once his so much of his energy isn't taken up by simply breathing, but it is scary. There are enumerable doctor's appointments, therapy visits, and hospital stays to come. Please consider a donation, or share this story with friends, and ask them to do the same.
While I have no money that I can donate, I am a photographer and would love to donate a photo session. I don't know where the Trevino family live but if they are within 15 miles of Rockford I would love to give them some family portraits for free. Please let me know if they don't live too far a way. Thanks! Photography by Denett ismy facebook page.