She already knew that she was expecting twins, but an ultrasound revealed an unexpected birth defect. One of her twin boys would be born with Pierre Robin syndrome, a facial disfigurement that affects an estimated 1 in 10,000 children.
Ramona brought her pregnancy to term and raised her sons, Gabriel and Haidin—it wasn’t easy, but the family stayed strong. Now, at 19 years old, Gabriel is living out a new chapter of his life.
Read on to learn more about the Cooper family and the outcome of Gabriel’s plastic surgery.
14. The Most Difficult Decision
“I had to think for two months about keeping him,” she said. Significant medical problems affect babies born with this syndrome, including major difficulties in breathing and feeding.
13. Bundles Of Joy
Children with PRS usually reach full development and size. Their prognosis is quite good once breathing and feeding issues are overcome in infancy.
Ramona carried her pregnancy to term, and in March 1997, her boys were born.
12. A New Name
After learning of his condition, Ramona changed his name from Madison to Gabriel.
“As a woman of faith, I wanted him to have a guardian angel, so I named him after Gabriel,” she said.
“The boys have had their problems, but I’ve never regretted keeping Gabriel—he is a wonderful son,” she added. The teenage years were tough for the boys, but most parents watch their children go through the same growing pains.
10. Growing Pains
The family went through counseling during the boys’ teenage years. Haidin explained that he blamed himself for Gabriel’s condition. He feared that he had kicked his brother in the jaw while they were in the womb, but that’s simply not true. “I felt pretty good when I realized I had nothing to do with Gabriel’s appearance,” Haidin said. “I’m not sure why I felt responsible, but I just did—it was good when we established that wasn’t the case.”