It is estimated that 353,000 babies are born worldwide each day, which is about 255 births every minute, and about 4 babies every second. Out of that number, 15 million babies are born premature and 120,000 babies are born in the United States each year with some kind of birth defect.
Although the statistics can provide us with facts and data on the topic, it cannot help us understand what those kids are struggling with, what the parents are going through and how they are all coping with the difficulties of everyday life. One of those kids is Isaiah Acosta, a boy born without a jaw and the ability to breathe or eat on his own, but what nobody knew was that life had great things in store for this brave fellow. This is his story!
Isaiah Acosta was born on the 31st October 1999 in Glendale, Arizona, USA. He was born two months premature and due to that, he was fighting for his life. Right after the birth, he was without oxygen for 15 minutes and doctors told his parents, Tarah and Sergio, that he was unlikely to survive and that if he did, he would not be able to walk or talk, and would be practically bed-bound. But the doctors did not know what kind of a fighter Isaiah was.
Isaiah also suffers from multiple unrelated disorders and medical conditions, the most severe being agnathia, a very rare condition that is marked by the absence of one or both jaws. Isaiah was born without the lower jaw and respiratory pathways so he is not able to talk, breathe or eat on his own. He breathes through a tracheal tube in his neck and eats through a tube in his stomach.
In addition to the previously mentioned conditions, Isaiah also suffers from a congenital condition called situs inversus, which practically means that all of his vital organs are reversed or mirrored from their normal positions. Despite the prognosis given by the doctors, Isaiah has beaten all the odds. Although he cannot talk, he can walk, think and hear everything perfectly. He did win the battle for survival, but he continues fighting for a better quality of life every day.
Isaiah’s life hasn’t been easy for anyone, neither for his parents nor for him. He is not a regular boy and he needs 24/7 care. The tube he uses for breathing needs cleaning at least three times a day and it has to be changed once a week. Not to mention the danger of suffocating due to blockages and many other dangers he’s facing on a daily basis. As a kid, it was unimaginable for him to go out and play with other kids without someone constantly checking up on him.
When he wants to see a movie with his friends, his parents have to be in the theatre. If he wants to go to a concert, someone has to escort him and carry all his medical equipment in case of an emergency. He cannot stay in his room alone, listening to music, like all teens do, without his parents coming in and checking up on him. He was and he still is 100% dependent on his parents.
On the other hand, his parents tried, as much as they could, to provide their child with life as normal as possible considering the circumstances. Isaiah graduated from the Apollo High School and has recently enrolled in his town’s community college. His parents did not want him to go to specialized schools dedicated to sign language because he is not deaf. He communicates through gestures, animated facial expressions and by typing on his phone. Tarah and Sergio did everything they could so that Isaiah could at least feel ’normal’.
Although they tried, his parents could not protect him or defend him completely from the cruelty of this world, especially the kids at school. It was obvious that he was different from the other kids – he looked different, he behaved differently and he even breathed differently. So needless to say, he was the victim of a lot of peer bullying and harassment. But he didn’t allow it to get the better of him. “I am full of life and I am not letting anyone take that away from me”, he said for the Untold Miracles Podcast.