PHOENIX — Mother's Day is always a special time to celebrate the most amazing women in our lives and for one Valley mom, this Mother's Day was extra special.
Rachel Retegan welcomed her new baby girl, Ava into the world not long after receiving a life-saving kidney transplant.
"She's super spunky, she's a very happy baby, she smiles all time," Retegan said.
While she admits having a family wasn't always in her plans, a lot of that was part of her medical condition. At 21, Retegan was diagnosed with kidney disease related to hypertension after a routine physical returned abnormal lab results.
During the next four years, her condition progressively worsened to stage four kidney failure and doctors told her she needed to consider a kidney transplant.
But at 32, she and her soulmate, husband Zach were ready to start a family. Enter Dignity Health St. Joseph's. They were able to match Retegan with an organ donor and not long after came baby Ava.
"Within that year, I was pregnant and had Ava at 32 weeks and three days," she said.
She was born on March 16, six weeks prematurely, weighing in at 3 lbs. 8 oz. Ava was born just a few floors away from where Retegan received her kidney transplant a couple of years prior.
Retegan spent every day with Ava in the hospital’s NICU as she grew stronger.
Retegan is now the hospital’s first kidney transplant recipient to give birth post-transplant, she credits the support of the hospital staff and everyone who has supported her on this road to recovery.
"It was really scary for me, just because they didn't have any other pregnancy, after kidney transplant, so I was really left with just the scare factors. They were my cheerleaders through the whole thing and looking out for me and my health, as well as the baby and just making sure we were supported emotionally as well," she said.
She can't believe that in 2022, after her long journey that she'd be celebrating this Mother's Day with her baby girl safely in her arms.
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