Carlos Marquez’s son Luke, 1, has undergone five brain surgeries and needs a shunt in his brain to control his hydrocephalus.
When Marquez wanted to honor Luke and the battles he has faced in his short life, he knew just who to turn to for ideas: his son's neurosurgeon and a tattoo artist.
Marquez, a father of five, has a tattoo honoring each of his children. Luke's needed to be extra unique.
“Because of everything Luke has been through, Carlos got a really special tattoo for him, which is the shunt. And it’s actually the exact same shunt Luke has,” Eileen Marquez, Luke’s mom, told TODAY Parents. “He has it in the same exact position.”Carlos Marquez said Luke’s neurosurgeon gave him a picture of the shunt, which his tattoo artist used to create the art. It’s located on the back of Carlos Marquez’s head, in the same position where Luke’s shunt rests under his skull. The shunt tattoo is larger than the one that Luke has, and the text beside it reads: “His fight is my fight.” Marquez said he hoped the ink will show Luke that his dad’s got his back.
“I want him to know that he’s never alone,” Carlos Marquez, 42, of North Bergen, New Jersey, told TODAY. “I’m here for him no matter what.”
When Eileen Marquez was 29 weeks pregnant with Luke, her doctors detected that he had a brain bleed. Numerous tests and consultations revealed that he had neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, a rare condition where mom’s immune system attacks the baby’s platelets, causing various health problems, including brain bleeds. Both parents carry the gene and they say it’s “a miracle” their older two children weren’t affected by it. The couple knew that after Luke was delivered via C-section, he’d face complications — the severity remained somewhat unknown.
“They couldn’t take a chance of me even going into natural labor because it could have caused another brain bleed,” Eileen Marquez, 42, said. “There were probably 20 people in the room just to be prepared to move if he wasn’t breathing or if he had a bleed. They were prepared for everything.”
When Luke was born he had hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in his brain, and he needed a shunt placed in his head to lower the pressure. But that wasn’t the last time Luke had brain surgery during his first year of life. He’s undergone five surgeries to adjust the shunt to make sure the fluid and pressure lessen in his skull. Despite all the surgery and recovery, Luke’s a “happy baby.”
“He’s delayed and it’s taking him a little longer to do things but he really is amazing and just what we needed in our lives,” Eileen Marquez said. “He’s so strong and he’s doing so great with his physical therapy.”
Carlos Marquez, who also has two children from a previous marriage, said his mother hates the ink he has for each of them. That is until recently.
“Usually her comment would be like, ‘Oh you got another tattoo,’” Carlos Marquez said. “For the first time ever in my life, she saw the tattoo and she actually broke out in tears and started crying.”
Finally, a tattoo that a mother can love.