Dreams of Motherhood Fulfilled By Kidney Transplant Recipient


Mother’s Day 2013 has come and gone. I hope it’s not too late to say, “You Go Girl” to all the mothers who put their hearts and souls into making life good for their families.

Mother’s Day only occurs once a year but a mom is a mom everyday.

A week before this year’s Mother’s Day, I met Susan Hernandez, a woman who would be celebrating her first Mother’s Day the following weekend. The first-time mom is 38 years old.

Her eight-month-old son Ryan Gabriel Hernandez was an especially sweet gift to Susan and her husband Gabriel because at age 20, Susan was diagnosed with immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, a kidney disease in which proteins accumulate in the kidneys, ultimately leading to kidney failure. Because of the frail state of her kidney function, physicians advised her against becoming pregnant.

At first medications helped Susan’s kidneys function. Then she started regular dialysis treatments.

“It was hard,” recalls Susan. “I hated living on a machine.”

Although the dialysis machine helped her kidneys function, becoming pregnant remained an unfulfilled dream for Susan.

“Over 90 percent of females on dialysis can’t become pregnant,” explained Bernard Fischbach, M.D., a transplant physician on the medical staff at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth.

Happily, Susan received a kidney transplant at Baylor All Saints on July 7, 2007. Her successful transplant rekindled Susan’s hopes to start her own family.

Although she and Gabriel enjoyed their 5 nieces and 5 nephews, she still hoped to become a mother—to hold her own baby. Five years after her transplant, Susan’s dream came true.

Weighing in at 6 pounds 15 oz, Ryan arrived on September 7, 2012. Although it was a high-risk pregnancy, Ryan suffered no medical issues.

Asked about her first Mother’s Day, Susan said, “It feels awesome. It’s the best feeling ever. Ryan’s extra special after everything I’ve been through.”

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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Dreams of Motherhood Fulfilled By Kidney Transplant Recipient