When Dezi Padilla was 33 weeks pregnant, she had an emergency cesarean section, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her baby’s neck, and soon after he was pronounced dead.
Doctors resuscitated baby Jayce Valencia and, about 30 minutes later, his mother says, his heart started beating on its own again. But his kidneys failed and he’s been on the list for a kidney transplant since his birth.
“It felt like a nightmare,” the 34-year-old Padilla said.
Donor Network West, a federally designated organ-procurement organization covering Northern California and Nevada, reported 2,287 kidney transplants done in California last year, with 97 of those performed on people under age 18.
“The kidney is an extremely important organ in the body,” said Waldo Concepcion, the chief of pediatric kidney transplantation at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. “They help the body develop all the functions for growth of the bones.”
Without functioning kidneys, there is no way for the body to keep levels of electrolytes or make hormones that create red blood cells, contribute to strong bones and regulate blood pressure.
“When you don’t have a kidney working, your blood has a lot of toxins,” Concepcion said. “The kidney has a little involvement in other organs. When the kidney’s not working well, a lot of other things are happening.” Continue reading