Mother gives her 21-month-old daughter a kidney

Rachel Lentz, thrilled to finally be discharged after donating her kidney and holding her little girl, Eva, who was the recipient of her mother’s kidney. Photo provided

On February 23, 2016, Rachel Lentz, a former student at Robert Blue Middle School in 2003, gave birth to two beautiful identical twin girls in Istanbul, Turkey. It was double the joy that quickly turned to great concern for one of them - baby Evangeline (Eva).

Lentz said she had no idea that Eva would be born with End-Stage Renal Disease (the final stage of kidney disease when dialysis or a transplant is needed to stay alive). Both kidneys were completely underdeveloped and covered in cysts.

Ironically, Lentz said the doctors must have known before the birth - Lentz’s pregnancy had been closely monitored due to the high-risk nature of the twin pregnancy- yet they never shared the diagnosis with her. She’s not really sure why, but suspect that doctors believe it is in the best interest of expecting mothers to withhold upsetting information.

“I think (doctors in Turkey) underestimate people and think they can’t handle the truth...especially women,” Lentz said.

Of course, Lentz wishes she had known in advance so she could have made arrangements to possibly move back to the United States prior to the birth and mentally prepare herself for all that Eva’s condition would entail. At four-days-old, Eva had a peritoneal catheter placed and began dialysis treatment. She spent 44 days in the Istanbul University Hospital’s NICU before being discharged to go home, where Rachel began to administer her dialysis treatment.

Dialysis would be little Eva’s lifestyle for nearly two years—a daily treatment that was critical in keeping her alive, until Eva was big enough to receive a transplant. Lentz said it was never really much of a struggle to get Eva to do her dialysis at home because that’s the only way of life she knew. Lentz noted that she did the dialysis at night so it was less of Eva’s daytime hours taken up, but that didn’t mean there weren’t times, especially as Eva got older, that Lentz didn’t have to work diligently to keep her little girl entertained and not fidgeting with the dialysis machine.

Read the full story in the February 8 edition.