Sébastien Forest was born at 28 weeks gestation with a defect called Gastroschisis.
Gastroschisis is a non-genetic defect in the abdominal wall through which the intestines develop outside of the baby’s body, being exposed to the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb. It is a very rare defect attaining 1 in 10 000 babies and can be diagnosed early in the pregnancy.
At Sébastien’s birth, the doctors operated immediately, as the intestines that had been exposed were twisted, preventing blood circulation in the intestine, and needed to be removed. Since more than three quarters of the intestine was removed, from the jejunum to the micro-colon, including the ileocecal valve, Sébastien suffers in consequence from Short Bowel Syndrome.
In order for Sébastien to grow and thrive he needed to be fed by TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition). A premixed liquid fomula that is created for his bodies needs, which usually will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein for 10-12 hours, once a day or five times a week.
While the TPN was helping him grow it was also destroying his liver. His blood would no longer coagulate, causing many worries for his parents who knew it was a secondary effect of a damaged liver.
Sébastien was placed on a waiting list for organ transplant, status 3. In Canada, there are 1,700 people on a waiting list for organ transplants – and 40 of them are children. The family knew it would take a miracle for him to receive both organs that he needed to survive.
In the beginning of January, in the wee hours of the morning, David and Jasmina received a call from Toronto, giving them the news of a possible occasion for a small bowel and liver transplant for Sébastien. A glimmer of hope motivated their haste despite a short night and they flew to where the sun was already just beginning to rise.
After an evaluation and some discussion, it was decided that another baby would receive the transplant, given that the intestines and liver would be too large to properly fit Sébastien’s little body.
In August, Sébastien received his double organ transplant at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.
It may not be the most festive setting, but the fact that he’s here at all makes it the best Christmas the family has ever had.
“It’s like we won the lottery and we won the gift of life for our son,” his mother Jasmina Forest relates. “He’s our Christmas gift, because if we hadn’t gotten this double transplant, he would not be … with us this Christmas.”
They can’t possibly express their gratitude for a holiday gift that will forever be beyond price.
“We would like to thank the donor’s family for being so generous,” Jasmina proclaims, tears welling in her eyes. “We promise to take good care of him.”
This baby is a miracle many times over. First by surviving prematurity and second for recovering from a double organ transplant. These parents are very lucky and extremely dedicated. He is a fortunate young boy to have them. Please visit his site for more information or the City TV site for video on the story.