Great things happen when you least expect them

In this account, Ágnes Tornyos, a 34 year-old patient of the Fresenius Medical Care Szépvölgyi Dialysis Centre in Hungary, shares her experiences of living with kidney failure and the joy of becoming the mother of a healthy child.

In 1992, at the age of 15, my kidneys stopped functioning following an abrupt case of scarlet fever. A few weeks later, I was already undergoing dialysis treatment. Fortunately, I was eligible for a kidney transplant and was immediately added to the waiting list. Then, on November 25, 1993, I got my kidney transplant alert. We set off immediately for the hospital.

In those days hardly anyone had a mobile phone. It was very stressful to get from Szombathely to Budapest. On top of all that, the weather was very bad and the roads were icy. But despite the difficulties, we managed to arrive in time. The kidney transplant was successful and my new kidney got going, even if there were some difficulties.

Good results

Due to the series of hospital treatments, I had to repeat my first year at secondary school. That didn’t stop me, however, from achieving good academic results while completing the second year with my new kidney.

The kidney worked perfectly and I could lead a full life, even if after ten years an increase in my creatinine level occurred. In 1996, after finishing secondary school, I was accepted at Corvinus University. As a result, I moved to Budapest, where I’ve lived ever since. I met my husband at university and we got married in 2005. It was natural for us that we wanted a family. Fortunately, my doctor, head physician Katalin Földes, supported me in achieving this goal. But, as the years passed, nothing happened.

Even now they still don’t know what caused the infertility. Tests didn’t show any abnormality or connection to my kidney disease. Both my husband and I were perfectly healthy. Finally, in 2010, after five years of trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant, we decided to submit the documents required for an adoption application. My doctor also encouraged me to make this decision. She explained that many of her transplant patients had gone down the same path.

It was October by the time we had gotten all of the necessary papers together. But, much to my surprise, after waiting for less than 2 months for the authorities to contact us, I simply became pregnant! We were very happy. And on Christmas Eve we let the other members of the family in on the secret. Everyone was touched. It was simply fate that I became pregnant just as we were so close to adopting.

Growing inside

Unfortunately, as my pregnancy progressed, the functioning of my kidney started to deteriorate. At the start of 2011, it was clear that my transplant kidney was going to stop working after 18 years and that I would soon need to start dialysis. In May, exactly on my birthday, I had my fistula operation. But I didn’t mind. I had no cause to be sad. The wonder we had been waiting for was growing inside me. Following the advice of the head physician, Ottó Árkossy, I went in for treatment every day during the last two months of my pregnancy. He said this would be better for the baby and for me too. My contractions started right during one of the treatments. The nurses took me immediately off the machine and we set off for the hospital straight away.

The birth wasn’t exactly free of complications, as our daughter, Teodóra, was born five weeks early. But fortunately she was fine. After two weeks, we were already released from hospital. Since then Teodóra has been developing nicely. She caught up with other children her age long ago.

On the fourth day after the birth, I was already going to the Szépvölgyi Dialysis Centre again for treatment. It was difficult in the beginning, as I had to get up with the ‘morning shift’. But I used the free time wisely. When possible, I slept so that I could rest after being up at night. Luckily too, my baby was soon sleeping through nights. She is a little angel and makes up for all the hardships.