I'm Melinda Gaza, Mother of Miguel Gaza and his Father's name is Francisco Gaza. Miguel has a sister named Mary Ann, she's in 9th grade and she is 15 years old. Miguel is in Grade six and he is ten years old. He studies in Neepawa Middle School, Miguel enjoys being in school and listening to music. He also likes hearing stories and having a stroll during the summertime. His favourite food is salad, pasta and burgers. He also loves sleeping a lot. 

Wyatt is a 6-year-old boy who was born with Renal Dysplasia and bilateral vesicoureteral reflux.  Wyatt currently has a diagnosis of Stage 4 Chronic Kidney disease and was placed on the Manitoba Transplant list in 2019 in hopes of a pre-emptive transplant, but remains on hold as his kidney function has been stable at 23%. Throughout Wyatt’s life he has been followed by numerous pediatric specialists, all of which are only available in Winnipeg. He is currently being seen by a team of renal experts at the Renal/Dialysis clinic at the Children’s Hospital.

Wyatt's step father, James, who works very hard to ensure that he has every medication that he needs to thrive in his daily life. His mother Amy and little brother Paxton, are often the ones who accompany Wyatt on the long trips to Winnipeg. Living outside of Winnipeg creates its own set of difficulties such as having to leave very early in the morning to make the long trip, poor weather conditions or multiple appointments have often meant an unplanned stay at a hotel.

 The plan for Wyatt is to get a kidney transplant from a live Donor before his need for dialysis. When the time comes, we will have to relocate to Winnipeg, as Wyatt will be monitored closely in the hospital for a short period of time and as an outpatient until they feel confident in us being hours away from Children’s Hospital. At this time the cost of medications such as the required anti-rejection medications and steroids would be massive. The road ahead is uncertain and life will be filled with obstacles and struggles but with Wyatt's positive energy and amazing thirst for life he will undoubtedly face and conquer these challenges with the love and support of his family and all that help to end kidney disease.

Matthew was born May 5, 2016, 3.5 months early at just 24.5 weeks gestation and weighing 1lb 6oz.

Everything was going along just fine pregnancy wise, we were excited to be welcoming our second son into the world!

One night something didn't feel quite right, contractions were coming along strong.  We rushed into Brandon hospital, after some check-ups my water broke, next we know the air-jet was on the way from Winnipeg to pick me up, I got flown to Winnipeg Health Sciences Center, my husband raced along to meet us there.

The day was a blur, doctor consults, decisions, steroids, it was all very overwhelming.  When presented with the fact that our son will be arriving that evening, we were faced with the toughest decision, at just over 24 weeks gestation, his chance of survival was just 8%, we had to choose between life and death.  We chose life, we asked the doctors to do whatever they can to try to save our little boy!

We were prepared, I remember being in the birthing room ready to push, looking at my husband and saying "you know our baby might not cry", I was in tears.

A few minutes later at 2:04am, with the NICU team standing by, ready to take my baby to the next room for intervention, Matthew was born.  He let out the tiniest cry, I felt relief, but knew we would have a long road ahead.

I was taken back to my room, my husband was escorted to be at our son's side.  Matthew's doctor took pictures of Matthew and my husband Sean, once Matthew was intubated and stable enough to be transferred to the NICU.  Where he would spend the next 4 months.  During that time, I was fortunate enough to have accommodation at Ronald McDonald House, which was just up the street from the hospital.  This allowed me to spend as much time near Matthew as possible.

Each day that passed, his survival rate went up, slowly but the percentage was looking more positive.

The days were long, especially with my husband and other son Jacob only being able to come to winnipeg on weekends due to school and work.  Our whole lives were turned upside down. Each day I was surrounded by doctors reports, bloodtests, blood transfusions, MRI's, ultrasounds, etc.

Matthew suffered from a Grade 4 brain bleed, which was closely monitored.  

He needed blood transfusions, due to the many blood tests that were necessary to monitor any abnormalities, and his tiny body wasn't producing enough blood to keep up.

His little lungs were not fully developed, he had to be on a jet ventilator for the first few weeks, then transferred to CPAP for the next 2 months, during that time or trial and error he also suffered collapsed lungs, requiring intervention again.  Micro-preemies are forgetful to breath as well, so was was on a caffeine drip, and oxygen monitors watching for dips.

Matthew's eyes were affected from being on oxygen support, he developed a condition called ROP, Retinopathy of prematurity is an eye disease that can happen in premature babies. It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, and can lead to blindness.  So he required multiple injections into his eyes to help with the blood vessel growth.

In December 2016 he underwent laser eye surgery to "weld" down his retinas.

Now we are on close monitoring for his hearing, which can also be affected from oxygen support, but often not discovered until age 4-6 years.  As of right now he is showing signs of hearing loss in his left ear, but with him being so young we go for hearing assessments every 3 months.

 

After 4 long months, it was finally time to go home, all of us as a family again!

 

But that wasn't the end, post discharge was followed my countless trip to Winnipeg, a 3.5 hour drive each way from home, sometimes overnight as we try to book appointments as close together as possible.  He was and still is closely monitored by nutritionists,ophthalmology, physio therapy, speech, hearing and other assessments.

 

We are very fortunate that our son is growing, learning and keeping up with his peers.  We wants to be just like his big brother Jacob (11) and looks up to him very much.  Matthew loves his family, his dog Buddy, hockey, playing outside as much as possible, he like to read books and tell stories and of course he loves Superheros and Paw Patrol!

Our lives are returning to somewhat normal after the last 3 years, appointments are less frequent all the time!

 

We are very thankful for all of our family, friends and complete strangers who have offered their love and support during this time.  We are looking forward to making many more memories!

 

Thank you for hearing our story.