By Audrey Carpenter
Belvidere residents Ryan and Becca Trevino have always wanted to be parents and went through quite a trial to have a family. 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 was 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 private adoption, which made the adoption option affordable. They were ecstatic, and fell immediately in love with baby Amelia, growing in her birth mom.
Within the same week, Becca then found out she was pregnant herself. 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, space and the 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.
In Becca’s 19th week of pregnancy, they found out her son, Sebastian, had a congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s Anomaly. This condition is very rare, and there is a range of severity. The anomaly is a displaced tricuspid valve, causing cardiac complications.
Becca and Ryan’s 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. But they never stopped considering adopting because they were now having “their own” baby. Amelia was, from the moment they found out about her, their own as much as baby Sebastian was. 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 and have insurance, but insurance only covers 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 a curve ball.
Their daughter, Amelia, was born June 23. Their son, Sebastian, was born Aug. 30.
Sebastian defied all odds and was born pink and breathing 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.
Sebastian is fragile and needs around-the-clock monitoring, and a special high-calorie diet that is 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 Sebastian needs to have the best possible chance is also expensive.
Doctors continue to warn the family that they have a long, hard, costly road ahead of them in keeping Sebastian healthy. 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. He is very sensitive and gets over-stimulated easily.
Ryan is back to work at General Mills, and is home whenever he can be, and has taken time off for the births and for the time in the NICU and a trip back to the hospital. He has run out of paid leave. 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.
The Trevino family has set up a donation site online for those in the community who would like to help with the ongoing medical expenses. Visit www.gofundme.com/51e4cw.
From the Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2013, issue