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Thomas's story: Conquering hydronephrosis at Texas Children's

At 24 weeks, we discovered our little guy had hydronephorsis. His bladder was full and the urine was backing up into his kidneys. We were terrified! We searched endlessly for answers, and looked for any hope and help we could find. 

At the time Google directed us to a different fetal center. There we received a very glim outlook. A horrific picture was painted for us and our baby’s future. We felt helpless, scared and were given very little hope. We continued to search for help and answers. 

Our prayers started to be answered as we found Texas Children’s Fetal Center. When I was about 26 weeks into my pregnancy, we met with Florence (our nurse support and coordinator), Dr. Ruano (one of the maternal-fetal surgeons), Dr. Braun (a pediatric nephrologist) and many other important team members.

Sadly, our son’s condition worsened. The inability for him to urinate caused his kidneys to “release/rupture” and there was then urine outside of his kidneys, called uroma. My amniotic fluid levels dropped even more, now into a critically low level. We were given the same scary information about the deformity and the life expectancy of our son as we had heard before, BUT, this time Texas Children’s Fetal Center gave us a glimpse of hope by offing us a small procedure to check the functionality of his kidneys. A needle was inserted inside and urine was taken from various locations. The test results came back positive for at least some kidney function.

Now we were on to the next step. At about 27 weeks, Dr. Ruano placed a bladder shunt to allow our baby Thomas to release urine from his bladder back into my amniotic sac. The procedure also returned my amniotic fluids back to an acceptable level. Thomas kept his shunt for about 10 weeks. He was able to get bigger and stronger, and the time and fluid allowed his lungs to finish developing as well. Texas Children’s Fetal Center staff were kind, well-managed and stayed positive throughout our biweekly visits.  Texas Children’s was the answer to our prayers, and we could not have asked for a better team to assist us in our journey. We prayed and with the excellent care we made it slightly passed 37 weeks. At that time, it was determined it was best to deliver. Thomas was born the next day! We continued to receive optimal care. The NICU nurses and doctors were just as amazing. We were given adequate information, support and positivity during our uneasy time. 

At 3 days old, Thomas underwent a surgery to remove the obstruction from his urinary tract. Thomas is now 2 years old. He is full of life and thriving. His kidneys are not free from damage, but have been functioning “normally” so far! Thomas takes an antibiotic daily, has regular blood tests and has scans of his urinary tract regularly to be sure no further problems occur. God, with the help of the Fetal Center team, has blessed us with the most wonderful 2-year-old boy we could have ever imagined! I can say without a doubt, without the care and support from Texas Children’s we would not be anywhere near where we are today. We could never thank the entire Texas Children’s staff enough for remaining optimistic and making us feel safe in their care. Texas Children’s Fetal Center has given Thomas the BEST shot at an AMAZING life!

Post by:

Kimberly Schulz, patient and mother of patient