You’d never guess that two short years ago, Peyton was fighting for her life. When Peyton celebrated her third birthday this past November, she seemed like any other child — healthy, happy, smiling.
It was a very different little girl who was brought to us on the evening of her first birthday—a very sick little girl, in desperate need of a new liver. Peyton was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare and life-threatening condition that causes damage to the liver. At just eight weeks old, she underwent surgery to open her bile ducts.
Her mom Jenny recalls, “Those four hours seemed to pass so slowly. I kept thinking, ‘I just want to see her, hold her.’ They took us back, and there she was -- our tiny baby girl, covered in tubes. I looked at my husband Roman and saw tears running down his cheeks.” It’s hard for any parent to see their child endure so much.
And, as Jenny and Roman realized right then, their baby’s fight was likely far from over. A few months later, they got the news. Peyton wasn’t getting better; she needed a new liver.
A parent’s love is a fierce thing. If you’ve ever felt it, I’m sure you can imagine Jenny’s and Roman’s pain and how desperate they were for their little girl to get well.
Despite all Peyton went through, Roman and Jenny never lost hope. That’s partly because of Peyton’s resilience and fighting spirit: “It was easy to be in denial about how sick she was because that girl smiled through everything,” Jenny marveled. “At one point, one of the doctors said she was probably the sickest patient on the floor -- and there she was laughing and giggling and riding around on her ladybug scooter.”
But there was something even more important that gave Jenny and Roman faith that they’d see their little girl grow up: they knew she was getting the very best possible care. Her mom says, “Luckily we had the best of everything at Texas Children’s … the #1 liver transplant surgeon, the #1 pediatric cardiac surgeon. Plus, it was clear that everyone really loved her.”
The liver that Peyton received was an exact match. It saved her life -- and the life of another baby was saved with a transplant as well. It’s impossible for Jenny and Roman ever to convey the depth of their gratitude.
That sick little girl who checked into Texas Children’s on her first birthday is a distant memory. Today Peyton is happy and healthy. She loves to dance and sing and swim and play with her big sister, Ava. She even gets into her share of trouble!