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Baby Isaac Carbajal may only be a few months old, but he's already fought for his life in a string of hospitals, survived heart surgery, inspired a benefit concert and charmed countless adults cheering the little guy on with their prayers.
"He's a fighter," said proud father John Carbajal, who credited his son's strong spirit and a community's support for the baby's progress in the light of challenging odds.
"All our friends and family, we asked them to pray. Everyone in the community has been praying for us, too. We appreciate everybody's help."
The Yuma baby, who was born April 15, is the son of John and Angelica Carbajal, ages 20 and 19.
Isaac suffers from medical issues involving several major organs. His heart is located on the wrong side of his body, plus several arteries were formed incorrectly, the parents explained.
His stomach and liver are also on the wrong side. A section of his spinal column also formed incorrectly, but the parents say they aren't sure if the spinal cord is affected.
Since his birth, Isaac has spent the majority of his short life hospitalized, either at Yuma Regional Medical Center or St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.
Both parents stress that no one would have ever expected any problems for Isaac. Angelica explained that the pregnancy was quite normal and tests found nothing out of the order.
"With my other child, everything went good, so with him I expected everything to go good again."
Everything at first seemed fine for Isaac, even the delivery showed no signs of problems.
"Not even 10 minutes after he was born," trouble began, John said. Isaac was being cleaned when nurses noticed something wrong with the baby's breathing. He was also very pale.
Isaac was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit for babies, where doctors told John and Angelica that he had a serious heart condition
"I was just wondering what was going to happen," John said. "I was thinking he wasn't going to make it. He was having a lot of trouble breathing."
Isaac underwent surgery that corrected a deformity involving two major arteries.
"That was hard," John said of seeing his tiny son go through surgery.
"Seeing him with all those tubes and IVs ...," Angelica said.
The parents said doctors have explained that Isaac will be able to live with those certain organs in the wrong place. Doctors haven't said much about the possible impact of his spine situation.
"So far they have been more focused on his heart," Angelica said.
The baby is now back home in Yuma, but frequent visits to the doctor are still required.
To help the young family with expenses, Texas Roadhouse and local band Slick Nickel staged a fundraiser in early May. A benefit spaghetti dinner was put on by employees at the Yuma Sun, where John Carbajal works.
"I've got a lot of help from the Sun," John said. "They helped me out with money and that was a big help. I went up there (to Phoenix) broke. I didn't have a dime in my pocket."
The couple's near-weekly trips to Phoenix have been made more challenging by recent car problems. The young family is also facing yet another possible medical challenge. Angelica said her young daughter has been displaying signs of having trouble walking, an issue the mother said will warrant close attention.
The parents say Isaac has recently put on a little weight and now boasts a very good appetite.
"He is really alert and active," John said. "I think everything is going to turn out good."
The mother echoed that sentiment, stressing her optimism for her son's future.
"He's going to grow up to be a normal child," she said.