My Baby Has What?

How to deal with your baby having hydronephrosis

When you become pregnant, you hope for the best and assume everything will be perfectly fine. What happens when that isn’t the case? Sometimes everything isn’t perfect, there could be something slightly off with the development of your baby.

I can remember when I was told a few days after my 20 week ultrasound that there was something off with my baby. I was trying not to freak out. The worst part was not being spoken to by my doctor. I had called a few times and had to leave messages with the receptionist. Finally, I was called and informed my son had grade two bilateral hydronephrosis.

What the heck is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis is a condition where urine overfills and backs up into the kidneys causing them to dilate. If you think about filling a balloon up with water, that is basically what happens to the kidneys. The severity varies and typically is classified by grades 1, 2, 3 or 4. Where 1 represents minimal dilation of the kidneys and 4 would be severe dilation.

Okay, now what?

Having your growing baby be diagnosed with hydronephrosis can be stressful to say the least. Depending on the severity, doctors will recommend different treatments. Since my baby still had time to go on the inside, monitoring was the course of action. Once a month I went to a perinatal specialist where I had an ultrasound done to measure any fluid in the kidneys.

There was nothing else to be done while I was still pregnant beyond monitoring. Once he was born, we had to wait about 3-4 weeks to get an ultrasound done. The results showed there was still fluid in his kidneys, so to a specialist we went.

Ghosts from the past

At this point, I was an emotional wreck, however I knew how to go into autopilot and the questions to ask. My eldest had a similar diagnosis, only instead of being discovered in utero, his was found at age three years.

My son’s doctor had him undergo a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) procedure the first visit. Then ultrasounds to monitor. If you were advised to have your child undergo a VCUG you can read more about that here.

Ray of Sunshine

My son’s doctor had told us that hydronephrosis was quite common in infants. About 1 out of every 100 pregnancies has hydronephrosis, which happens to be more common in boys than girls. The likelihood that both of my sons would have to see the same specialist for their kidneys when hydronephrosis is not genetic, well let’s just say I should play the lottery.

Fortunately, my sons are doing well. My eldest has had a longer road to travel whereas my youngest’s kidneys have spontaneously healed on their own. Knowing the journey and struggles, try not to jump to the worst case scenario if your child is diagnosed with hydronephrosis during your pregnancy. I know it is far easier said than done. Trust me mama, I have been there. Send me a message if you have some questions, concerns or simply need to vent to someone who understands.

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