(KTRK/CNN) – A baby born without skin in some areas can finally be held by his family thanks to a first-of-its-kind procedure.
Ja’bari Gray now has skin covering 100 percent of his body, allowing his mother to finally be able to kiss her baby boy.
“Now you can kiss him, touch him, do all that stuff. He got to wear his first set of clothes now, so he’s getting there,” said his mother, Priscilla Maldonado.
Ja’bari’s skin was grown inside of a lab in Boston that specializes in burn victims.
“That was the first transplant ever that’s been done in his situation and on a baby his age,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado finally got to embrace her baby skin-to-skin for the first time, ten months after he was born.
“It was heartwarming because he was crying when he was laying down so as soon as I picked him up and had the skin-to-skin contact and put him on my chest he just stopped crying.”
His siblings are also getting in on the love. His big brother, Jaden, held Ja’bari for two hours on Wednesday.
The baby, given little chance at birth by doctors, now weighs nearly 18 pounds.
He’s off his pain medication and breathing on his own, and his family is preparing for his homecoming.
“We’re counting down, 18 more days (giggling).”
But his mother admits he still has a long road to recovery to correct several areas that are fused. After two surgeries to open his eyelids, they reclosed. Both arms, right hand, right foot and neck will all require surgery to separate them.
Maldonado stays positive though, celebrating each milestone.
“Making coo sounds that normal babies would do, he’s interacting with us, even though he can’t see us and stuff, he’s still interacting.”
Ja’bari’s mother says his name means fighter or warrior, which exactly what he is. Maldonado says doctors told her only two other babies like Ja’bari have been born in the United States, but neither of them survived.