When we welcomed our son Mason to the world, we never expected we’d be here a year later saying our baby is 1…and he needs a kidney transplant.
When I was pregnant with Mason, prenatal testing showed that he might have a chromosome abnormality. At 30 weeks, my doctor thought Mason had stopped growing, so they induced labor. We were expecting him to have abnormal limb length, but he did not. He was just extremely small, but otherwise seemed healthy.
When he was three days old, tests showed that his kidneys had not developed correctly and were functioning at a very low percentage. We were told he was too small for dialysis and there wasn’t anything that could be done for him. Then, a friend who works at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital told me they are able to do dialysis on babies under four pounds there.
In the end, his kidneys were functioning well enough that he did not need dialysis right away. He unfortunately also had horrible feeding issues. His doctors put him on a special kidney formula that he kept vomiting up. It was a frustrating time, and we made the decision to transfer his care to the team at Mott.
Mason initially spent two weeks at Mott as an inpatient. Everyone at Mott has been great. The nutritionist helped us with his eating challenges and we were able to get him off a ton of medications he had been taking. Since he was discharged, we’ve been able to keep him out of the hospital, which is wonderful since he had spent so much time in and out of the hospital before.
Now we go for checkups once a month. His kidneys are still working well enough to stay off dialysis, but we’re not sure how long that will last. For now, we’re focused on finding him a kidney.
We’ve learned more about kidney donation than we ever imagined.
- There are 2,791 people in Michigan waiting for a kidney, and over 101,641 in the U.S as of April 1, 2015.
- Donor kidneys can come from a living person.
- Most adults do not need both of their kidneys.
- A little baby like Mason can receive a transplant from a fully grown adult.
Unfortunately, our immediate family does not match or is unable to donate for other health reasons. We haven’t found a living donor for Mason, yet. But we hope that by sharing his story we may inspire someone out there to be evaluated as a donor, and even if that person can’t help Mason – that they may consider signing up to become an organ donor to share the gift of life with someone else whose life may depend on it.
While this has been the most stressful year ever, it really has been an amazing year. Mason’s first year has been full of positives and overcoming so many things I never thought would happen. I’m so thankful for this and we are truly blessed. We all hope Mason is blessed with a new kidney soon.
Take the next steps:
- Call 800-333-9013 to learn more about living kidney donation and see if you can donate a kidney.
- Complete a kidney transplant donor form.
- Learn more about the Kidney Transplant Program at Mott.
- Watch a video with a message from some of our organ recipients.
Danielle Gill lives in Coopersville, Michigan, with her husband Preston and children Ryan, Madison, Colin and Mason. You can follow Mason’s story on their Facebook page.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.