By Valencia Jones

NEWNAN, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — A local mother gave her very sick newborn son the ultimate gift of life, just after he was born. Three years later, the family is still counting their blessings.

Elizabeth Melville and her husband Jonathan were so excited when their second child was born. Baby Wesley arrived on December 6, 2017. But they soon noticed something was wrong. They checked him into the hospital the day after Christmas.

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“That’s when we found out through liver biopsy and a major surgery that he had biliary atresia,” said Melville. It’s a childhood disease that blocks bile from leaving the body and damages the liver. “As a mother, I was devastated. I was broken hearted,” she said.

He had his first surgery at only three months old, then doctors determined he would need a transplant.

“I already knew that we had the same blood type, and I just felt in that moment that, that was my calling,” Melville said. As it turns out, she was a match for her own son. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association helped raise the funds to cover the transplant.

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Doctors performed it at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston on May 10, 2018, two days before Elizabeth’s birthday and just before Mother’s Day. “For me, since he was a tiny baby, they only had to take the upper lobe,” she explained. Wesley’s liver started working immediately, and after a few complications, they both recovered.

“The transplant did not set him back at all. He is a big boy,” Melville said. The three-year-old big boy now has a one-year old baby sister, making them the Melville Five.

“You will go through unbearable heartache along the way, but there is sunshine on the other side of that forest,” said Melville.

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The message goes a long way during a pandemic and during Christmas time, letting others know there’s hope.