Mum's baby dream comes true 20 years after life-saving transplant
Beautician Lorraine Hayes (31) has realised her lifelong dream of becoming a mum - years after her successful kidney transplant.
"My kidneys never grew from birth, but they didn't find this out until I was nine. So I was 10 when I had the transplant," she said.
Lorraine went on dialysis in June 1994, and received the transplant some seven months later in January 1995 from a deceased donor. "I have never looked back," she said.
Therefore, when she and her partner Alan Corrigan (29) decided they wanted to have a baby, she sought expert advice from doctors.
"This was something that I worried about for a very long time. I wasn't sure whether I would be able to have a baby. But I spoke to my doctor, Peter Conlon in Beaumont, who changed my medication. I had to wait three months to make sure that the medication would work before we started trying."
To her delight, she found out she was pregnant in December 2014, and baby James was born five weeks early.
"I was being monitored, but they had always told me I wouldn't be able to go full term, because they would never allow me to have a natural birth because my kidney lies right underneath my pelvis.
"So there was amazing care between Beaumont and the Rotunda."
James was born on July 5 last year - the same year Lorraine celebrated the 20th anniversary of her transplant. He weighed five pounds one oz, and will be nine months old next week.
"He is thriving, just flying," says his proud mum, from Ratoath, Co Meath.
She says she will be forever grateful to her deceased kidney donor.
Lorraine was one of the recipients who attended the launch of organ donor awareness week at the Mansion House, which begins next Saturday.
Also present was Ann McGivney who shares a special bond with her niece after she donated a kidney to her. She didn't hesitate to step forward and help Shannen Proudfoot (10) from Nobber Co Meath, when the little girl was ill.
"She was born with defective kidneys," said Ann (51). "Shannen was at a routine check-up and they decided she needed to be on the transplant list."
She said that Shannen was placed on dialysis when she was seven, just three weeks before the transplant operation took place.
"Her diet had been very restricted for a few months before. She couldn't play the games she liked to play."
Ann, who is Shannen's godmother, was found to be a suitable match and the transplant operation went ahead in October 2013.
"She has never looked back. She is playing sport, she trains with football, she is swimming, she is dancing and plays the piano. She is just living life to the full."
From April 2-9, Irish Kidney Association volunteers will be selling forget-me-not flower emblems, including brooches and pens.