OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - A young omaha couple excited to be parents, only to find that the first year of their baby's life has been a tough road.
Easton DeJong, 1, has already had 10 surgeries before his first birthday in June. Easton's parents want to share their son's miracle story and raise awareness.
"I guess I never had thought of that happening. So for them to say that, I was shocked, I was in disbelief," Danielle Orris, Easton's mom recalls.
When Orris was 23 weeks pregnant, doctors told her her son would be born without kidneys or a bladder.
When he was born seven weeks premature, ultrasounds showed Easton's kidneys were conjoined in his pelvic area, but still wouldn't function to clean his blood.
"I was worried. I didn't want anything to happen to my first kid," his father Brenden DeJong recalled.
On top of this, Easton suffers from other medical ailments, including being born with and extra rib. He's also awaiting spinal surgery. He was born with a rare penal-scrotal transposition.
Doctors told Orris it could have been from a time Easton's blood supply was cut off, but they weren't sure, she said.
At 23 weeks, Orris said she was told Easton probably wouldn't make it, and they were giving the option to abort but "she couldn't do it."
Now, after one year, DeJong and Orris call Easton their miracle. He's had 10 surgeries from hernia repair to getting catheters put in for dialysis. He also gets kidney dialysis twice a week for almost four hours each session. Easton will eventually get a transplant, but he needs to gain more weight first.
"Babies with chronic renal failure don't grow as fast as kids who are healthy so it takes longer for him to get, as big as another child who doesn't have kidney problems," said Dr. Terri Mauch at the Nebraska Med Center.
While Easton's parents wait for him to get up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds), he weighs 9.1kg right now, they fight. They have taken to the web to raise money for their son's treatment and awareness about kidney disease. They've started selling t-shirts and bracelets, saying "help Easton fight."
Dr. Mauch thinks Easton will get to that goal weight in the next six months. A kidney would add 15 years or so to his life, but Easton would likely need another kidney transplant after that. Mauch encourages people to become organ donors.
"We have a real shortage and real waiting list that sometimes can last years, and it's hard for kids to be on dialysis," she said.