A Fort Hood soldier's three-month-old son with a rare heart syndrome is finally home in Harker Heights after recovering from surgery the infant underwent in Houston.
"It's a blessing, it really is," Elisa Leasure, the boy's mother, said.
Three-month-old Billy Leasure was diagnosed with Heterotaxy Syndrome -- a condition where organs are misplaced or duplicated. Billy's heart developed on the right side of his body and he has no spleen.
"When we was born, he was flatlined completely," Captain Bill Leasure said. I came into the OR. There was no pulse. I went to comfort Elisa because I thought he left us."
It's been tough for the family to see their baby boy hooked up to tubes at the hospital and struggling to gain weight.
So, Elisa adds formula to his breast milk to give him those extra calories.
"For heart babies, they burn through calories a lot easier and faster than typical babies, just breathing, eating, they're burning calories doing that. So that's been one of the issues," Elisa said.
But Billy is doing well at home -- doing all things babies are supposed to do. He found his hands and feet and he enjoys being held by his family and siblings.
"Being in someone's arms, he's like 'okay, I'm good, I'm comfortable.' But also, he's so smart, and that was something they tell you not to panic about if you notice their development is just a little delayed because open heart surgery was on a bypass for several hours," Elisa said.
Billy's mother stayed with him full-time in Houston. So, her return home to the whole family was a little overwhelming.
"You just want to jump into everything. You can't. It's too much to do. Too much to take on at once," the mother said.
But Elisa said it's a blessing to be home and the return brought back some normalcy and it's the best Christmas they could ask for.
"When (Billy) looks at you with that smile, you forget everything you went through before that, just that moment right there," Elisa said.
For now, the stockings are hung on the chimney with care and, this year, there's one for Billy, too.