A mother's love: Little Elm woman donates kidney to her three-year-old son
LITTLE ELM -- A parent would do anything for their child. And that includes Stephanie Luhm, a loving mother from Little Elm.
Her son Wiley has seen more doctors offices by the age of three than some of us see in a lifetime. It's certainly not what she and her husband Mike envisioned when they learned they were having a little boy. Her pregnancy was healthy. Their baby was not.
"One of the NICU nurses realized he wasn't having the wet diapers like he should have, so they started doing some blood work on him," said Stephanie.
At three days old, Wiley's kidneys were failing, and he needed to be transferred to another hospital. Stephanie had only held him once.
"It was very [terrifying], and you can't ride in the ambulance with them," said Stephanie, through tears.
The Luhm's were thrown into a blur of surgeries and treatments during their son's first months. Wiley has Posterior Urethral Valves which make it tough or impossible for urine to drain out of the body. It can cause a backup that seriously damages the kidneys.
So Wiley's first three years came with a catheter, dialysis at night, and a million small sacrifices.
"You know, he's never fallen asleep with us in his bed, because he always has to go back to his room and be connected [to dialysis]. So I've never had that chance to sleep with my son," Stephanie said. "It's the little things, yes."
There was only one thing keeping her son from those moments, a transplant.
"He can have all my kidneys if he lives a healthy and happy life," said Stephanie. "I think any parent would do that for their child."
This summer, the woman who gave him life learned she could also give Wiley a second chance at it.
Stephanie was a match.
"I cried, cried, cried, jumped up and down, it was all kinds of emotions!" she said.
But then came another hurdle. This time it was Stephanie's health.
"When she first came to us she was turned down, because like a lot of Americans, she was a little bit heavier medically than we thought she should be to donate," said Dr. Matthew Mulloy.
Dr. Mulloy and his team at Medical City watched as a very motivated mom took just a few months over the summer to get in shape to donate. They scheduled surgery, and Mike Luhm prepared to care for his two patients.
"It is a team effort," said Mike. "It really is, and it's just a testament to our marriage, I mean we really did really good on this."
Before dawn on September 26 Mike kissed his wife and his son, as they proved a mother's love knows no bounds. 24 hours after surgery, Stephanie was up and checking on Wiley, who already showed progress.
"The kidney's functioning very well," said Dr. Mulloy. "So far we're happy but we're always cautiously optimistic waiting until the day they can go home."
When that happens, Wiley will have more focused energy, fewer medications and an easier diet. That will be a whole new world for this family. Thanks to a gift that gives them all a chance to enjoy the little things.
"It doesn't just change his life, but it does change our life," said Stephanie. "It's going to be a good thing."
Wiley was discharged from the hospital three weeks after his transplant surgery and continues his strong recovery at home in Little Elm.
To learn more about organ donations in Texas, click here. To follow Wiley's journey, visit his Facebook Page: Wiley's Warriors.