Diagnosis: One Huge Kidney

I felt strong. I felt like praising God. I felt faithful in His faithfulness. I felt like saying ‘no matter what happens, God is good. All the time’.

And this terrified me.

Going into our visit with the perinatologist this afternoon I had a knot in my stomach and for all of the normal reasons but what really pushed me over the edge was the fact that I was feeling strength and faith on a whole new level. My only explanation for this was that God was really preparing my heart for the worst. There must be some really bad news I was about to receive if God was bolstering me with so much support. So much peace.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait very long before being called back for our level II ultrasound during which our sonographer (who reminded me so much of Erin Brankel Andrelli that I was immediately comforted) and soon enough the gel was on my belly and she was prodding around with the ultrasound thingy to look at our beautiful babe.

The brain, heart, face, spine umbilical cord still looked perfect and healthy.

And adorable.

But as she moved the wand to view his abdomen my fear was confirmed. There was the giant black circle. My baby’s kidney. Still dilated. Still significantly larger than his other kidney. I don’t know anything about anything but even I could spot it right away and tell you it wasn’t normal.

She said the doctor would be in with us to talk about specifics and so while we were waiting she just took more pictures of our precious boy. He is pretty handsome, by the way.

The doctor was a lovely, strait forward, kind woman. She confirmed that everything, including little boy’s other kidney looked beautiful at this point.


That darn left Kidney just wasn’t draining properly and is officially diagnosed with Hydronephrosis. Here are the main points that I came away with from our latest appointment:

1) It is not cystic. I”m relieved by this.

2) The chances are not super high that we would have a baby with downs syndrome due to everything else being healthy and my age, but since kidney problems are a marker our chances go up a bit. We denied an amnio at this point which could confirm or deny for us because we wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy if our littlest one had downs syndrome and just didn’t feel the need to know at this point given the risk associated with an amnio. We can do it later if we want or just wait and see if we are surprised and blessed with a child with Downs.

3) The Kidney is not damaged.

4) Yet. Although the perinatologist will let a pediatric urologist make that call down the road, she said she thinks that when our baby is born the kidney will be damaged and non-functioning. I think this means surgery to remove the damaged kidney.

5) People live with one kidney all the time. No biggie. Hah! There is no such thing as “no biggie” when you are a mom. But seriously, in the dark, sad world of organ failure, it seems like one kidney failing is cause for a party.

6) Nothing is guaranteed. We will continue to be monitored regularly and receive non stress tests starting at 32 weeks and keep an eye out for other markers of chromosomal problems that could still develop and cause heart, brain problems as well as other issues associated with kidney problems such as low amniotic fluid.

7) God is good. All the time.

I feel a mix of emotions at the moment. I am reasonably optimistic that our baby will be fine. He has one beautifully functioning kidney and looks healthy otherwise. People live with one kidney all the time. But I am also saddened. My baby hasn’t even left the safety of my womb yet and already the imperfections of this world are upon him. He will very likely need surgery as a wee bitty one. On top of that is the worry that every parent experiences. The ‘what if’, ‘worst case scenario’ worry that almost makes me sick to my stomach.

Thanks for reading this and praying for our son. And for being informed on a blog instead of by a phone call. All this emotion and medical jargon is exhausting and I am thankful for technology to be able to post it once and not have to repeat the details over and over again.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”

your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me,

your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94


8 thoughts on “Diagnosis: One Huge Kidney

  1. God works in mysterious ways His WONDERS to perform. He at times works in our lives in the cleft of the Rock. We may not always understand His ways but we can ALWAYS trust His heart for His Children including Baby J. Praying for God to be glorified in your life and mine.


  2. Jojo

    How can we trust God if His ways seem to be lacking in moral sense? You can say its mysterious, but I have a sense of what seems right and wrong or at least what would have been a better outcome. God, in all His perfection, certainly could have carried out whatever plan He may have while preventing any sort of complications. Whatever end you imagine Him having, He being perfect, could achieve it without pain or suffering. The fact of the matter is that you will always trust and praise God no matter what happens – even if it were the most absolute abhorrent thing any human could ever experience (such as the Holocaust). And that’s sick. Some things require us to accept their reality because they are so horrible, that there may be no purpose behind an event, such as developmental complications. If we don’t do this and instead comfort ourselves by saying that there is divine purpose, then we are setting ourselves up for failure when a problem we can control comes our way.


  3. JoJo thanks for sharing your opinion, but I do indeed have a different worldview from you! I don’t believe that God causes pain or suffering but I do believe that through it he brings beauty and redemption. And while many, many people that I encounter have stated similar views, namely “how could a good God allow that to happen”, I believe that we live in an imperfect world that includes things like people killing one another, natural disasters and yes the loss of our children to seemingly senseless things that could have been prevented. I also believe that God experienced all of this suffering – loss of friends, betrayal, physical pain and suffering, poverty and eventually death. I am thankful for a God who can be with me in my suffering, and who can give me a greater hope that goes beyond any physical or emotional pain, or healing, that I or my loved ones may experience. I am also thankful for a God who took someone like me, someone who has hurt people, betrayed friends, rejected Him, and yes even polluted and damaged His creation, and offered through his death forgiveness and an opportunity to receive healing and redemption and yes faith that although we live in this damaged world, that we ourselves have damaged, I can live knowing that God has made a way for me to be reconciled to him and will enjoy the day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Thanks again for commenting and sharing.


  4. Anonymous

    I don’t think the person’s question was answered. This is something I’ve struggled with as a Christian. Why does God allow bad things to happen? I’m grateful He is there for me when bad things happen, that He forgives when I do bad things, and that I know the world has a lot of bad in it. But why did He let it be?


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