Life Times Two-Story 2 of 2
When a story is this good, it needs to be told in two parts. You can read the first part here.
This is the second of two stories written by Helena McDermott along with the following hot off the press good news update announced on September 12, 2014.
I would like to announce the birth of my daughter, Corinne Ida McDermott on Friday, September 12th at 7:26 AM at 6 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches. Both baby and I are well.
Another miracle from transplantation.
Life Times Two
by Helena McDermott
The kidney that I received in 2008 not only gave me new life, it also gave me my beautiful son in 2011. This is a story about the kidney that keeps giving and the people that help it thrive.
I always knew I wanted a child but it never seemed like the right time. At 32 I went to the gynecologist and she asked me if I was going to have kids. Was it time? I had been married for seven years, but sitting up on the gynecologist table I felt about 17. When I returned home I called my friend and said “We are old!” Apparently my gynecologist saw something in there that alarmed her, in turn asking when I was going to make a baby. The fact was I was 32 and I guess in biological clock time that was approaching old. I called my husband and informed him we were old and it was time. I still did not feel ready but I decided to at least check with a high risk doctor to see if having a baby was even possible with my IGA nephropathy.
I had the chronic kidney illness since childhood, but aside from fatigue at times and catching a cold more frequently I was able to lead a productive and active life. When I went to the doctor she was optimistic about me being able to conceive until the blood work came back. I had acute renal failure. From early 2008 my acute renal failure became complete renal failure and the next thing I knew I received a preemptive transplant in September 2008 from my sister. (Maybe you read that story in the 2009 LI TRIO newsletter).
Now here’s where the story really begins…
Once I had the transplant I knew more than ever before that I really did want to be a mother, but I also wanted to take very good care of my new kidney. I spoke with the doctors at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell (where I had my transplant) and they advised me to wait two years after the transplant to get pregnant. The most optimal time according to them would be from two years post transplant to five years.
The summer before my kidney’s second birthday I spoke with my nephrologist, Dr. Hong, and asked her if everything looked good for me to try to conceive. She told me I needed to change one of my immunosuppressant medications before I started the process of trying to conceive. She worked closely with my doctor, Dr. Hartono of NY Presb to make sure I slowly went on an immunosuppressant that would not be harmful to my pregnancy. I began the transfer of medication from late August to October and then I went to a high risk doctor, Dr. Klein. He felt confident that I would be able to have a baby even with the transplant.
By January I had become pregnant and my husband and I were quite surprised. I went to the gynecologist to make sure and shortly after called Dr. Hong to tell her the good news. Dr. Hong was my guiding light throughout my pregnancy. She was constantly checking my kidney function and checking in with my gynecologist and doctor at the transplant center.
At times my immunosuppressants needed to increase but overall my pregnancy went well. My husband and I didn’t share the news with our parents until April/May until we were sure things were going smoothly. Only my doctors and we knew of the new life that was yet to enter the world. Sometime in July I needed to be checked more frequently and I would go to the hospital for tests and sonograms. Although I was due in October, I delivered three and a half weeks early on September 15, 2011. It turned from a routine appointment to we have to deliver this baby. I was nervous but relieved when I saw Dr. Hong in the hospital that evening. I ended up having a cesarean and my baby boy, Charles Joseph, was born 5.1 pounds, 18 inches. He was in the NIC unit for only two days with fluid on the lung. After four months he was four times his birth weight. Now at almost two years of age he is a happy and healthy boy. He is amazing.
My sister (my living donor), Maria, also gave birth only two months before me to our beautiful niece Stella. So we didn’t get just one precious gift in the summer of 2011; we got two! Funny how life works.
My sister’s kidney gave me everything and aside from my wonderful husband’s love and my parents’ and friends’ support I want to thank my doctor, Dr. Hong for not only being my nephrologist, but caring beyond the call of duty. Thank you.