When Eden Carter was born, she was very jaundiced and was misdiagnosed because of it. She went through a series of tests. At only 2 months old she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. Every day before the transplant, her family lived in fear they were going to lose her. Every day they did what they had to do to push through it. Eden could not even be around anyone outside of her immediate family, just in case of infection.
Prior to turning 6 months old, she already had one surgery and was constantly in and out of the hospital. Eden needed another surgery at six months old: a transplant. Eden was placed on the waiting list, and in the meantime given a PICC line to help her gain weight for the upcoming transplant. Ashley, Eden’s mother, said, “It’s hard to explain all the emotions when you are the waiting list because you know what is happening on the other side.”
January 14th 2018, Eden’s family received the lifesaving call. A liver had become available. The next day, Eden endured a 13-hour surgery. She had lines hooked up all over her and she was swollen after the surgery, but she finally got the liver she needed. It was a lot for the family to take in but Eden was going to live with a functioning liver.
The family stayed at the hospital near constantly, and it took a toll on them. It was draining at times, and trying to take care of both Eden and her older sister, who was still at home, was challenging. A week after the transplant, Eden had a bad rejection, but she was able to get medication to fix her body’s negative reaction.
After surgery and healing, Eden started to catch up on her growth milestones. She could hold her own bottle, she could play with toys, she could walk. She was able to be a happy baby, and the new liver gave her a new life.
Life after the transplant meant less medications. Eden went from taking 21 medications to just two. No more running back and forth to the hospital. “We do normal things now outside like go to the park, take vacations and be around family,” Ashley said.
The discussion about the donor:
Ashley Carter did not know much about the donor, who was a 3-year-old boy.
The Carters have not written to the family of the donor yet, but plan to send pictures of Eden so they can see how a part of their son’s life gets to live on through her. Ashley enthusiastically said, “I don’t know what to say other than THANK YOU! The strength they have given her, a piece of their child so another can go on. Thank you is not enough for the selflessness during their dark time. We are super thankful for the family.”