A woman named Lauren Parnes grew up with chronic kidney disease (CKD). At the age of 18, she was already at stage 3 out 5 which means her kidney is only working at a 50% rate. Her doctor told her “pregnancies would be high risk.” That didn’t bother her at the time because at 18 she wasn’t thinking about babies.
At the age of 27, she met Daniel in 2010. She was ready for offspring. In 2011, she was pregnant. She said, “It was a fantastic, easy pregnancy.” But at 37 weeks she was to be induced, because doctors were concerned about pre-eclampsia due to hypertension caused by her CKD. She had her son Caleb, but something when wrong; therefore she had surgery. Three months after Caleb was born she found out her kidney function had deteriorated from 50% to 30% because of the pregnancy. She had now reached stage 4. She stated “I was quite frightened, but life carried on.”
Two years later, she decided to have another baby. she was pregnant with a baby girl January 2014. Lauren named her baby Katy. Katy was delivered by C-section on 13 June 2015, 13 weeks early. Lauren stated, “She was tiny, 1lb 2oz, but perfect.” Katy was taken off to be incubated and Lauren didn’t get to see her until 36 hours later. Doctors kept saying give it time, they were baffled as to why she wasn’t moving. Lauren and Daniel were with Katy for 11 days when she died in Lauren’s arms on 24 June. Her kidneys started to fail and eventually it stopped her heart. It was a horrible coincidence that she died of kidney failure. She felt desolate and didn’t have the words to tell her son. That’s when she had the epiphany to write down what she wanted to say to him, and worked with an illustrator to portray heaven. The book, Katy’s Pink Wings, was for Caleb, and it was cathartic for me, but I showed it to a consultant and he said the book could help others.
Six months after Katy died, she found out her kidney function had dropped again. Lauren was devastated because it meant she couldn’t get pregnant. She just wanted to fill the hole in her heart. But because her function had dropped to below 20%, she was eligible for a transplant. Daniel was a match, so we went through with the surgery. They both have scars – his is like a C-section and her’s looks like a shark bite. They are doing well.