LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - You might remember Mikey Marshall, No. 23, who played basketball under Coach Bobby Knight in early 2002 to 2004.
He fell in love with Telemundo weather personality Eileen Macias. Their blended family became complete when Eileen got pregnant, until an ultrasound at 20 weeks.
Eileen recalls, “We see this big black mass in the ultrasound.”
Mikey said, “Something was wrong.”
Lucky for Mikey and Eileen, Dr. Ed Yeomans happened to be in the next room. Yeomans is the chairman of the department and leads the Center for Perinatal Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Mikey says Dr. Yeomans walked in and told then, “Let’s talk about the ultrasound.” Mikey asked, “Is it normal?” Dr. Yeomans said, “No.”
Their ultrasound at 20 weeks of pregnancy was intended to reveal whether the baby was a boy or a girl. Eileen even had invitations for a gender reveal party waiting to be mailed. That party never happened. They learned it was a boy but that surprise was overshadowed by the shock that their baby appeared to be a textbook case of Prune Belly Syndrome.
Dr. Yeomans was honest with them and told them that the outlook was grim.
He said, “In Prune Belly Syndrome, some of them die before birth. Some of them die shortly after birth. It is extremely rare one in 30 to 50,000.”
The bladder becomes enormous in Prune Belly Syndrome, nearly as big as the head of the fetus. The lethal problem comes as the bladder grows, leaving little room for other organs to develop - like the lungs.
Mikey and Eileen heartbroken over the prognosis for their baby Brixton.
She said, “Knowing one of the possibilities was you’re gonna have to carry this baby full term and he’s going to suffocate when you push him out.” But, instead of ending the pregnancy, Mikey and Eileen made a choice for Dr. Yeomans to intervene. Mikey says, “He saved our son.”
Sixteen weeks before Brixton was born, guided by ultrasound, Dr. Yeoman inserted a long needle into Eileen’s belly and then into Brixton and then into his bladder to drain all the fluid.
It is a precise, intense procedure, but it worked. Eileen says she was on pins and needles as she watched Brixton’s bladder shrink from the size of a cantaloupe to a grape. It appeared to be successful, but Eileen was still classified a high risk pregnancy right up until the moment of delivery.
Dr. Yeomans says, “We had no idea whether Brixton would breathe on his own or whether he would get hypoxic and die.”
But Eileen says, “When he did take a breath and started screaming. I thought oh my God, that is the best sound ever!”
The story might end here, after the miracle of birth. But now, just after his first birthday, Brixton needs another miracle.
Eileen explains, “He looks so normal but now we’re in a situation where he needs a kidney transplant.”
When his bladder shrunk, his lungs developed, but his kidneys did not.
Eileen was quick to tell Dr. Yeomans, “I’m giving him a kidney. That’s the plan moving forward.”
That’s the plan, but the challenge is getting Brixton big enough to house an adult kidney since he also has a condition known as Failure to Thrive.
Eileen says, “Nothing he sees is appetizing to him.” She says it’s hard to explain to people who try to fatten him up with foods that kids love. But kidney disease leaves him on a strict diet. So, Brixton has a feeding tube that provides the nutrition he needs. But Mikey tries to make it fun for him to swallow by shooting fluids into his mouth, a “game” that Brixton loves.
So, while Mikey is hopeful that Brixton will get the kidney transplant he needs, he is also worried that ultimately two of the people he loves could go into transplant surgery while they still have three older children in school and a little girl, Mila, who was just born a month ago.
Mila does not have Prune Belly Syndrome. Dr. Yeomans says they tested the fluid that they pulled from Brixton’s bladder and it showed that he is genetically normal, a rare case of Prune Belly Syndrome with no birth defect. That was wonderful news.
I asked Dr. Yeomans If Eileen is able to give Brixton her kidney, does that mean that he could end up with a normal life? His answer was, “Absolutely!”
We were there in Dr. Yeoman’s office when Mikey and Eileen surprised him with a thank you gift, a collage of pictures of Brixton, some with Dr. Yeomans.
Gratefully, he put that picture in a special place in his office. After one more chance to hold Brixton and a hug with Eileen and even Mikey, Dr. Yeomans wished them well on their trip to the metroplex.
These three are headed to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. That’s where they will learn more about the kidney transplant and the dialysis that comes beforehand. Mikey and Eileen will come back to Lubbock with a portable dialysis machine and the training they need to use that daily on little Brixton.
This is just one more hurdle for a little miracle who has beaten the odds even before birth.
Dr. Yeomans says, “There are a lot of setbacks in the field of maternal fetal medicine, but Brixton has the potential to be a huge success story and already all three of us, Mikey, Eileen and I really feel good that we’ve made it this far.”
The medical expenses for Brixton are mounting, especially with his need for a kidney transplant. If you would like to contribute to that effort, the family has set up this go fund me account. They tell me they are truly grateful to this community for the support and the prayers.
Click here if you’d like to help: gofundme.com/brixton039s-medical-fund