“An Opportunity She Desperately Needed”: The Florida Mother’s Determined Battle to Save Her Daughter’s Life, and Her Victory

The Florida Mother’s Determined Battle to Save Her Daughter’s Life, and Her Victory. While many physicians asserted that her unborn child, who would enter the world without kidneys, faced insurmountable odds of survival, Andi Mahoney staunchly refused to surrender to such a bleak prognosis. Now, at the age of two, her daughter Emmie’s relentless battle against this rare and frequently fatal condition stands as a testament to the incredible force of determination, faith, and scientific advancements.

Their journey commenced in November 2020 when Andi Mahoney visited the doctor’s office for her 20-week scan. The scan revealed a harrowing diagnosis: her baby had bilateral renal agenesis, a condition in which the absence of kidneys is an extremely rare and often fatal occurrence, as explained by Doctor of the Fetal Institute in Miami.

Doctor noted, “Only about 0.013% of cases in America are diagnosed each year. The reason survival is deemed impossible is because the baby lacks amniotic fluid. Without functioning kidneys to process and excrete urine, they do not ingest the necessary fluids for proper development.”

Mahoney embarked on an exhaustive search before finally finding Doctor , after which she promptly organized a six-hour journey from Jacksonville to Miami. Given that the condition also hindered the development of the baby’s lungs, the key to the baby’s survival lay in Mahoney receiving infusions of fluids over a ten-week period.

“I continued making trips to Miami to secure more fluids, all in a bid to sustain Emmie’s life,” Mahoney recounted. “My baby depended on the infusion of fluids to facilitate breathing. Unfortunately, by the time I reached the 34-week milestone, I experienced an untimely rupture.”

At that juncture, Mahoney had to act swiftly, searching for a hospital capable of delivering her child and ensuring the baby’s survival. She located a hospital in Stanford, California, renowned for its expertise in assisting mothers in delivering babies with bilateral renal agenesis.

With her membranes ruptured, Mahoney embarked on a flight from Jacksonville to California, determined to reach a place that could safely bring Emmie into the world. The hospital not only offered the promise of delivering her baby but also instilled hope that Emmie would have a chance at life.

On March 24, 2021, Emmie entered the world, surrounded by a team of doctors providing oxygen and tirelessly aiding in her battle for survival, as recounted by Mahoney. In that poignant moment, Mahoney expressed profound gratitude to a higher power, for her arduous journey had brought her to this pivotal juncture. While other medical professionals had initially conveyed a bleak prognosis, the doctors at Stanford Hospital held firm in their belief that Emmie had a fighting chance at life.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her until after her surgery,” Mahoney recounted. “In those initial days, I was uncertain about her chances of survival. It involved a great deal of waiting and fervent prayers.”

Nonetheless, their journey was far from over. Emmie’s lung development remained severely underdeveloped, leading to tense moments that she eventually triumphed over. Additionally, Emmie still required a kidney and couldn’t leave the hospital until she reached six months of age.

Upon leaving the hospital, Emmie joined her sisters and parents in Jacksonville. However, her stay there was brief, as she continued to rely on dialysis to sustain her life. Emmie and one of her parents then made their way to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for ongoing treatment. A few weeks later, the entire family relocated to the city to remain close as Emmie underwent the necessary medical procedures.

Once in Atlanta, Emmie was able to undergo two years of outpatient dialysis, which she could manage at home.

Emmie’s survival hinged on finding a kidney donor, a vital requirement for her continued well-being.

Mahoney conveyed, “The most incredible news I ever received was the confirmation of our matching blood types and my approval for the surgery. Without hesitation, I knew that I would be donating my kidney to Emmie.”

Emmie continued her dialysis treatment until she reached 30 months of age, at which point the medical team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta successfully completed the procedure on July 25th, 2023.

“We named her Hope before I even knew the journey that lay ahead,” Mahoney shared. “It’s truly remarkable. She was a joyful child who simply needed an opportunity. I am profoundly grateful to the Lord and the doctors He placed in our path.”

The Mahoney family also aims to inspire and urge others to consider becoming kidney donors.

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