Aevyn Grace Ingram doesn’t know it yet, but she now has a little guardian angel, her parents said.
Back in 2016, Logansport resident Erika Gutierrez was pregnant with her fourth daughter, when she discovered the grim news that little Sofia would be born with a rare medical condition called Patau syndrome —also known as Trisomy 13.
According to the National Institute of Health, the disorder affects fewer than 20,000 newborns a year, and most do not live past the first week of life. Trisomy 13 is a result of cells dividing abnormally during reproduction, and babies end up producing an extra 13th chromosome.
Sofia Gutierrez was born on Nov. 15, 2016 and lived just a little over 30 hours, her mother said.
And while Sofia won’t ever be able to unwrap any presents or enjoy cake and ice cream on her birthday, Erika wanted to make sure that her youngest daughter would not be forgotten.
So the family came up with a plan, she said.
“Every year we do something special for Sofia,” Erika Gutierrez said. “On what would have been her first birthday, we just bought a cake and ate it at home. But this year is different. With Sofia, she’s not here to celebrate her birthday, but we still want to give. So if it’s not to her, we wanted to give to someone in honor of her. And we wanted to give to a little girl that would be born around Sofia’s birthday.”
Which brings us back to a treatment room last week inside the Logansport Memorial Hospital’s Family Birth Center, with little Aevyn Ingram — born on Nov. 21— and her parents, Barak and Krystal.
Outside the room set a Radio Flyer wagon filled with gifts of blankets, clothes, diapers and pillows, all donated by the Gutierrez family. The presents came complete with a card that detailed the wishes for the Ingrams and some background on baby Sofia.
It was the first time the two families would officially meet, but both Barak and Krystal said it hopefully won’t be the last.
The couple found out shortly before Aevyn’s birth that they were the recipients of the gifts, and Barak said he was extremely humbled by the generosity.
“Aside from wanting to cry, it kind of sets you back for a second,” he said, as he waited to meet the Gutierrez family last week. “Not many moms can actually go back through that sort of pain for somebody else. I said when we opened that card [from Erika] that that would be the first card we’re going to keep for the rest of our lives. And now her [Sofia] memory is going to blossom in somebody else.”
And as the Ingrams opened up the gifts last week, the Gutierrez family — including Erika and her daughters Sheccid, 15, Shivani, 14, and Ashira, 10, looked on with smiling faces, even offering advice to the first-time parents.
The two families then spent a few minutes exchanging addresses and posing for pictures before they went their separate ways.
But the Gutierrez family said they will be right back to the Family Birth Center around this time next year with blankets they plan to distribute in honor of Sofia’s third birthday.
Because that’s how you keep Sofia’s memory alive, the family said.
“It was all worth it,” Erika Gutierrez said. “I would go through it all again just to have her in my arms for a couple minutes or a day or two. And this is just a way to celebrate her birthday. You do it by giving. She’s not here, and we can’t give her what we want to give her, so we want to give it to someone else to enjoy.”
Reach Kim Dunlap at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5150.