Today, I’m bringing you an interview with James Virgil Boggs. I met him on Twitter and we kind of just clicked. He’s a fellow brother in Christ and he’s got some things I think you need to hear about. My prayer is that you’ll come away with hope for the situations you are facing and that we can shed some light on Potter’s Syndrome. Let’s get into it.
Okay, let’s start with what do you do?
For the past 5 years, I have been employed at First Baptist Church Centerton, AR I am apart of the building staff, making sure events are set up, facilities are clean and ready to go for the Christian School that is apart of the Ministry of FBCC. The school houses over 525 students, so we stay busy all year round. Right now we are in our summer schedule so I am currently stripping wax off floors and coating them. I am also a member of FBCC, which has blessed me to be able to go abroad on mission trips to Haiti and Ecuador. Sydney and I have also served in many areas of the church, including Youth and Children’s ministries. Ministry has been my heart since I surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in 2010.
Reading your blog, you and your wife have been through a lot. You had a miscarriage and lost a son due to Potter’s syndrome shortly after he was born. Tell us a little about that and what Potter’s syndrome is.
Yeah, so we have been married for 3 years this July and in our first year we found out we were pregnant early on and shortly after we shared the news, Sydney told me she was experiencing some unusual things with the pregnancy and wanted to have an ultrasound to get it checked out. The night she told me was on my birthday and my parents were in town celebrating because Dad and I share a birthday. I wasn’t too worried but didn’t know enough so we both decided for her to call the next day. She got scheduled and I left work early to be with her. The ultrasound technician was very quiet and didn’t give us much information (We were later told they really can’t), but something seemed off. We waited in a room for a doctor to come in and give us the news. She told us what Sydney was experiencing was a “Silent or Missed Miscarriage” and that our baby was measuring 9 weeks, but we were actually 10 weeks along. They could not detect a heartbeat. The news was absolutely devastating and we were quickly faced with a decision on either Sydney having a DNC surgery or letting nature take its course and have her pass the child naturally. We were going to have the DNC, but after going home and really trying to wrap our heads around it, we decided that God was in charge. Maybe the baby was alive and it was just too soon to see a heartbeat. We opted for a second opinion, but later found out our baby did in fact pass away. Nature did its thing 2 weeks later. This was the hardest time in our lives, but a time of growth for Sydney and I as we really cleaved to each other. One month after this happened, the Lord had started calling me to serve in Ecuador by being apart of a Vacation Bible School. I surrendered and left for two weeks. This was during our first anniversary and was not an easy thing, but I knew I had to be obedient to God and He proved faithful and I once again was reminded of The Gospel, just like I was in Haiti in 2011. Sydney and I received counsel after I returned and we spent months healing and spending many hours in prayer. In January 2015, Sydney announced she was pregnant again. We were both ecstatic, but had some fears and at 6 weeks, Sydney started having similar problems that she did in the first pregnancy, so we scheduled an ultrasound and everything showed that our baby was doing just fine! We saw the heartbeat and continued regular visits to the doctor and finally announced at 14 weeks. At our 20 week ultrasound we went in to find out the gender, but “B.B” was in an odd position and didn’t let us see much. After the ultrasound, our Doctor revealed to us that some things were not progressing as normal and that there was not enough amniotic fluid around the baby to see the vital organ development. We were sent to a Specialist to find out more information. He told us there were no kidneys and that without kidneys, baby couldn’t produce the amniotic fluid it needed to develop lungs. Without kidneys or lungs there was no chance of survival. Once again we were faced with heartbreaking news, but put our complete trust in God. This was something we could not fix ourselves and only the act of The Creator of The Universe could determine what the future of our little one was. Through blood work, we found out our child was a boy! We named him Drexel Lee Boggs. We spent the rest of the pregnancy on hope and faith that everything would be okay. We were given the option of abortion but immediately turned that down. We carried Drexel until 37 weeks, at which a C-Section was scheduled. Every ultrasound showed us a heartbeat, so we remained hopeful. During Drexel’s delivery, a Neonatologist was brought in to examine him and give a final report on his condition. Drexel was taken on August 21, 2015 around lunch time. I was in the room as he was delivered via C-Section. I watched his lifeless body being cleaned up and ready to hand over to me. I had moments of fear that he had already passed away, but every time I cried tears of joy at seeing him or prayed to God for the blessing, Drexel would start to show signs of life and he began using his lungs, making small crying sounds. The more I prayed, the more life Drexel showed. He was released to go to our room, and we were then surrounded by family and friends. Drexel was wailing and it was evident life was there. He was very small, just over 3 lbs. He looked just like me. Drexel was my son and I could not have been happier. The doctors could tell something wasn’t right and after examination gave us the diagnosis of “Potter’s Syndrome” which is the cause of Renal or Bilateral Renal Agenesis. The Potter’s Syndrome is the features that you can see, such as beaked nose and bent ears. Without amniotic fluid, Drexel was being squished in the womb. He had no room to move. The only thing he could do was suck his fist. His skin was very dry and his eyes were not in the correct place. There were other bodily organs that failed to develop because of this. The Neonatologist said that it would only be a matter of time before Drexel passed away, and that there was nothing we could do. If we tried any breathing treatments, it would collapse his lungs. They wanted to give us as much time with him as possible, so he was left in our care until God called him home. Drexel spent all afternoon and evening with family. He would stare at me and make little crying noises while I held him. He even cried louder if I looked away. All I could say to him was that I was so proud of him. Those were the first words I told my son. I’ll never forget that. Drexel cuddled up to his momma and finally had a chance to relax. We could tell his heart rate was slowing down, and the nurses monitored him.
After 10 hours, Drexel took his last breath and in the most relaxing and beautiful state, went to be with The Lord. There was an overwhelming peace that came upon me. I’m sure Sydney felt it too. God perfected Drexel’s short life on earth and many on Social Media witnessed every moment that was shared. After our Pastor came to visit and make arrangements for the days to come, we finally was able to get some sleep. When I woke up, my Facebook had blown up with messages of encouragement and sorrow for us. I saw one status in particular that caught my attention. It was from Rapper Bubba Sparxxx, offering his condolences to us and our families and asked for everyone to pray. I consider Bubba my big brother, so this meant a lot to me. We linked up a year earlier at his show in Springfield, Mo and Sydney and I were able to hang out in VIP with him and his DJ, Strizzo. God had worked out this relationship through networking on Social Media and so to see this status just really made me feel really cared for, especially after reading the comments from so many I didn’t know. There was love being spread. We were trying to wrap our heads around Drexel’s passing and so many had reached out, it was unbelievable. A week later, we had the funeral service at our church and so many showed up. Again it was unbelievable to witness the love of others. As the weeks passed, I had an idea to bring awareness to Potter’s Syndrome, because there really wasn’t much available online. The first thing we did was offer donations to be made to “The Potter’s Syndrome Research Fund at The University of Iowa Foundation”, many donated and we also had shirts printed up that said “Potter’s Syndrome/ Sequence- Drexel Lee Boggs” along with our official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Potterssyndromeawareness/?ref=ts&fref=ts “Potter’s Syndrome Awareness in Memory of Drexel Lee Boggs. That is where we are doing our main outreach and Sydney has been able to minister to a lot of women in the same situation. God is really blessing us through this. I encourage anyone who is needing someone to talk to regarding Potter’s or any loss of a child to reach out to us. We will respond very quickly. While we are talking about Potter’s Syndrome, I will go ahead and let the cat out of the bag… Sydney and I are co-writing a book to tell “Our Story”. The book is in progress and hopefully will be out as an E-Book by August or September. We really go into detail about our pregnancies and how we have handled the tough times as a couple. It will be a blessing to many, I’m sure.
How did your faith help you during this time?
Our faith has been the foundation for what has carried us through such difficult times. We both are strong believers in Jesus Christ. Our marriage is based on The Gospel message that has brought salvation to us both. I have been through a lot in life. Many struggles and addictions and found no peace, until I surrendered my life to Christ. I was a pretty messed up dude to be honest. I found myself drinking on a daily basis. I was depressed and felt completely alone at times. I had became a “Christian” in 2001, but didn’t really live it out. I held on to my Sin, but wanted to be saved. It wasn’t until God had me on my knees in surrender in 2010, that I truly got it. I felt the presence of Christ in me, which is the hope of Glory. I got baptized and truly became a new creation. Everything has changed. I’ve gone through heartaches since, but I’m no longer empty. God is at work and I am amazed everyday that he gave this sinner a second chance. The chains have been set free!!!!
Many times God can use our tragedies to bring help and healing to others. What do you hope God brings from these trials in your life? I honestly just want God to receive the Glory through my life, no matter what I go through. Good or bad. If people see Christ in me, then I have been a good and faithful servant. He has used me to take the Gospel to third world countries and to proclaim that at home. I’m just blessed to be used. “I want to spend, and be spent for souls.” God knows the people I will impact so I’m just being faithful and obedient to His direction.
I know you are involved in music, what are your plans with that?
Yeah, I’ve actually been involved in the Hip Hop Scene for nearly 15 years. I’ve been writing songs since was a teenager. I started free-styling and have battle raps at school. This was around the time I heard “Deliverance” by Bubba Sparxxx. I was automatically a fan because he was a white dude from the country, and he was rapping! I grew up in Western Oklahoma, so I knew about the country. I was like I can do that too. I later got more involved in DJ’ing , and did that for awhile. I’ve networked with artists for awhile too and through that I decided to start recording for myself. Right after I got back from Haiti, I wrote a song called “Daily Bread”, bought studio equipment and just got after it. I released several singles and mixtapes, with another artist from Northwest Arkansas that was local to me. We pushed everything through social media. I’m more of a “Studio Rat” so I’m not really into performing. I’m a shy and quiet dude but I have a story to tell so I just get in the studio and record whenever I get a chance. I’ve done a lot in the last 5 years, but most recently just released a new single titled “Winner” featuring Hunter Fuse and David Ray of the Group I4NI (Average Joes Entertainment/ Dammit Boy Entertainment) onto iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube and Spotify. That single dropped on April 1st and really was like a chance for me to say “Hey thanks to everyone who has ever doubted me, I’m still here pushing, I am a WINNER!) and that’s for everyone who has ever felt they weren’t good enough or was told they would never make it in life. My music is to encourage and spread a message of hope through what Christ has done for us. Through the hard work, I have recently been offered to become a contributor for Jesuswired.com. I am super excited and plan on doing a lot for the website. I think things are about to be insane to say the least. I’m ready to get back into music and to offer my talents elsewhere. I’ve ran the artist promotion website NWAPromo.blogspot.com for several years now, and to see the fruits of my labor be extended is pretty awesome. To God be The Glory!
Do you plan on blogging more?
Yes, I actually just started my personal blog virgilboggs.wordpress.com in hopes to “Point Readers to Jesus” through my life and things I enjoy. I am super excited about seeing that progress as well.
As you go forward what are your goals?
My goals are to continue being used by God. I don’t ever want to give up and walk away from the things that have been afforded to me though the music, trials and just life itself. Life is a funny thing. It’s not easy doing what we have to do, but I’m noticing things are coming full circle and life is making much more sense. I spent the past year working two jobs and right now I’m going to focus on my family, my full time job, writing and music. I’m at peace and it feels good. I still get stressed but it’s all good.
I really appreciate the time to express my heart through this interview. I’m thankful people are able to know my story. I’ll leave you with these lyrics from Bubba Sparxxx and Crucifix from the single “Splinter”
“Therefore, I must just
Stay faithful, the Lord got his hands on me
And you don’t hate me, you just don’t understand, homie
There from humble beginnings I saw limitless
Possibility, fear was my only nemesis
Along the way I forfeited my innocence
But that is ok, thank you Lord”.
I just have to stay faithful to God, even though I strayed away, He brought me back and now I see His purposes for my life!