Quadriplegic Iraq War Vet and Wife Welcome Baby Girl After Years of Struggles: 'It's Pure Joy'

Visnu Gonzalez and Sahily Machado welcomed their daughter Lia Valentina on Dec. 28

Photo: GMA

Becoming parents seemed impossible for Visnu Gonzalez and Sahily Machado.

Gonzalez, a 36-year-old former Marine, was left quadriplegic after suffering a spinal cord injury during sniper fire while in Iraq in 2004. He wed Sahily Machado in 2013 and the couple dreamed of starting a family — only to struggle for years with fertility issues.

“I always knew I’d become a father,” Gonzalez told Good Morning America. His wife added: “We wanted to have a baby even before we married.”

Gonzalez and Machado were told they could only have a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination, according to GMA. Then, in a twist of fate, the couple met Dr. Tomer Singer of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. (Singer was also conceived through artificial insemination.)

Soon, Gonzalez learned that he and Singer shared a special connection. Singer’s father was shot during his military service in the 1960s and used a wheelchair.

“Visnu’s injury was very similar to my father’s injury,” Singer told GMA. “I remember the day we met and they came to my office. It was a very emotional day both for the couple and myself.”

RELATED STORY: Maryland Grandma Crochets More Than 2,000 Hats for Newborn Babies

With that, Singer was excited to break the news nearly three years later that Machado was pregnant.

“I’ll never forget the words he tell me, ‘Mazel Tov! You’re pregnant!’ ” Machado recalled.


The couple welcomed Lia Valentina on Dec. 28.

“We’ve been trying for so long. She’s finally here. We did it,” Gonzalez told the New York Daily News.

Hospital officials highlighted the birth in a Facebook post, writing, “After a long struggle and with the help of IVF, we are thrilled to see Visnu and Sahily with their little ‘buncle of love,’ Lia Valentina.”

As for Gonzalez, he said he wouldn’t change anything about the couple’s journey.

“It’s pure joy. I mean when you hold her, and, you know, you’re a dad … you start your promises,” he said. “I’m gonna protect you. You’re gonna have whatever you need’ … it’s a life-changing event.”

Related Articles