Kidney Transplant Recipient Becomes Mom for First Time; Thanks Kidney Transplant Team for New Life for Herself and Son

Baby Michael Frias. Photo credit, Nichole Miller Photography.

Every baby is special and a miracle. Newborn Michael Frias, born in January 2019, takes it to another level: three years before he was born, his father donated his kidney to his mother, making his life possible not once, but twice over.

“When we were first dating in 2014, I told my now-husband Mike, ‘I likely won’t ever be well enough to ever have kids, because of my kidneys,'” said Natalie Russo, 36, who suffers from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), caused by a strep throat infection during her childhood.

Within weeks of beginning to date Frias, Russo’s health began to fail, and a transplant was becoming desperately needed. After opting to be tested to see if he was a viable donor, remarkably Frias was a match. He donated one of his kidneys to Russo on March 21, 2016.

Three months after her kidney transplant, Russo and Frias were married. Two years later, with the clinical okay from the Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center, the couple decided to have a baby.

Knowing she was going to have a high-risk pregnancy, Russo said that Kidney Transplant team was very hopeful and encouraging about her becoming a mother, but realistic.

“Kidneys fail for no reason, so I had to be closely monitored by both the Kidney Transplant team and my high-risk obstetrician,” said Russo.

In early January 2019 at about 35 weeks along, a routine test showed that Russo’s creatinine levels were abnormally high. According to the National Kidney Foundation, creatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear on muscles of the body. Everyone has creatinine in their bloodstream, but with Russo’s level being abnormally high, it meant she had to be admitted to the hospital for closer observation.

Mom Natalie with her baby Michael. Photo credit, Nichole Miller Photography.

“Unfortunately, my creatinine level went up again at the hospital, so they needed to perform a C-section and deliver Michael,” said Russo.

Born at 35 weeks and five days old, Michael weighed 6 pounds, one ounce, and measured 18 inches long: “He is perfect and healthy,” said Russo, who couldn’t imagine a better life since her transplant, who has since returned to work as General Manager of Title Boxing Club.

Russo is ready for anything else life may have to offer her and her growing family. “The Kidney Transplant team also said that as long as I stay healthy, there is no reason I couldn’t try to have another baby when the time comes.”











Entire family. Photo credit, Nichole Miller Photography.



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