When Pflugerville, Texas, resident Melissa Bensouda gave birth to her third child in 2002 at age 27, she dreamed of dressing her baby in cute outfits and documenting all the usual first-year milestones. Instead, she soon found herself worrying about staying alive.
“I definitely did not expect to see my children graduate from high school,” she says.
Six months after giving birth, a lab test revealed that Bensouda’s kidneys were functioning at half-strength. She was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney disease.
21 years later, Bensouda, now 48, has one kid in high school but has seen her other two children graduate.