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Debbie and Rebekah's Story

At a mere three weeks of age, Rebekah started peritoneal dialysis.

I was pregnant with my second child in what was seemingly a healthy pregnancy. However, when Rebekah was born, she had a bluish tinge and shortly after she turned black due to lack of oxygen. It wasn’t until the next day that we found out Rebekah was born with no kidneys. Rebekah spent a week in the neonatal unit, followed by some time on a regular floor. The team was doing what they could for her. Rebekah came home for a week but then due to fluid overload, she was rushed back to the hospital. At a mere three weeks of age, Rebekah started peritoneal dialysis. The medical team wasn’t sure if it would work because they had never tried it on someone so tiny. She had constant exchanges for 24 hours. For four months, Rebekah lived at the hospital until they were able to stabilize her. My husband and I learned about all her care and special medical needs during that time as well. When she came home, we started doing her dialysis at night, but the machine was so sensitive, it beeped every half hour for two years!

We spent a lot of time in the hospital in Rebekah’s first two years of life. It was a difficult time as we also had a seven-year-old and we were trying our best to normalize life as much as possible. It was 1993, Rebekah was three years old, and the peritoneal dialysis had stopped working. She was airlifted to Toronto where she started hemodialysis. We traveled back and forth to Toronto three times per week, about an hour or more drive each way. She would often get admitted to the hospital for complications.

When Rebekah was four years old, she received the gift of life – a kidney transplant! This kidney has lasted 28 years – Rebekah is now 33 years old! She follows up with her nephrologist every six months but manages her transplant well. We are incredibly grateful for her gift. We keep in touch with some of the renal nurses and look back fondly on the support we received from The Kidney Foundation at the time.