Due to a rare condition, Emmie Mahoney was born without a kidney, but her mum Andi “didn’t think” to sacrifice one of her own
Emmie Mahoney was born without a kidney, but thanks to her mother Anda’s kidney donation, she’s alive — and celebrated her second birthday last March.
When Andi Mahoney was pregnant with Emmie, during her routine 20-week scan, doctors discovered she had a rare — and often fatal — condition: bilateral renal agenesis. She developed without a kidney.
Babies with renal agenesis (kidney deficiency) can survive. However, the absence of both in utero (bilateral kidney agenesis) affects lung development.
The Cleveland Clinic says 1 in 8,500 newborns are born with bilateral renal agenesis, adding “without the kidneys that make urine and amniotic fluid, the fetus’s lungs do not develop properly. Most newborns die of respiratory failure within hours of birth.”
After Emmie’s condition was discovered, Andi regularly drove six hours from their home in Jacksonville, Fla., to the Fetal Institute in Miami so that Emmie could receive the necessary infusions of life-sustaining fluids, according to a report in USA Today.
“I kept traveling to Miami to get more, to keep Emmie alive,” Mahoney said USA Today. “My baby needed breathing fluids.”
However, at 34 weeks, Mahoney suffered premature rupture of membranes, which the National Institutes of Health says carries extreme risks for Emmie, including respiratory distress, an increased chance of infection — and can be fatal.
Mahoney found a hospital in Stanford, California, that had experience delivering babies with bilateral renal agenesis, so she “hopped on a flight from Jacksonville to California with ruptured membranes.”
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“I wanted to go somewhere that would deliver my Emmie. Also, they gave me hope that she would survive.”
Emmie was born with underdeveloped lungs and needed dialysis to survive. The family — which includes dad Ryan and two older sisters — moved closer to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where Emmie received dialysis outside the hospital for 30 months.
“I got the best news of my life when I found out that we have the same blood type and that I was approved for surgery,” Mahoney said. USA Today. “I didn’t think twice. I knew I was giving my kidney to Emmie.”
According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney donations between family members are less likely to be rejected because the donor and recipient are “genetically similar.”
It’s also less likely to require postoperative dialysis, because “a living donor kidney usually functions immediately, because the kidney is outside the body for a very short time.”
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But her road to transplant was bumpy, the family shared on their Caring Bridge page, where they chronicle Emmie’s health journey.
Last February, she ended up in the hospital with severe obstructive sleep apnea, which means Emmie would stop breathing during sleep, the Mayo Clinic explains.
“These episodes of apnea have become so severe that her heart rate drops when her oxygen levels drop,” wrote Andi, who explained that the condition delayed her transplant surgery.
And after Emmie had surgery to correct her sleep apnea, she landed in the PICU on a ventilator when her blood pressure and oxygen levels dropped.
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Once she stabilized, the transplant was scheduled for June – but was then postponed again after Emmie developed an infection at the catheter site. The infection spread, and Emmie went into septic shock.
But despite all the setbacks, last July Andi successfully donated her kidney to her daughter, whom she nicknamed Jellybean.
“Every one of Emmie’s surgeons expected complications, but there were none,” Andi wrote, adding, “The first news I got when I came in was that Emmie peed on the table!!!”
In August, Emmie “slept in her own bed for the first time in her life without dialysis.”
As the mom shared on Facebook on Wednesday, “Three months post transplant today and Emmie continues to amaze us with her developmental leaps, saying sentences around us and gaining more confidence as a walker.”
And from what Andi told, Emmie’s confidence is only growing: “Today she arrived at the park in pajamas and a tank top and announced: “I’m the boss of the baby!” until she was sure everyone had heard.”
Links: Mom Saves Life of 2-Year-Old Daughter Born Without Kidneys by Donating One of Her Own – Tekmonk Bio, Mom Saves Life of 2-Year-Old Daughter Born Without Kidneys by Donating One of Her Own – Kungfutv, Mom Saves Life of 2-Year-Old Daughter Born Without Kidneys by Donating One of Her Own – Hot News