Doctors told Karen and Brian Wollman that their son Renner had no hope. As a developing unborn child, they learned he had a condition called hydrops, which causes the body to swell with fluids. Although doctors thought he would be born stillborn, he was alive at birth.
However, because his kidneys and lungs were failing, doctors expected him to die quickly. So Karen held little Renner and rocked him in her arms one last time for about four hours.
Now, doctors have no explanation why Renner is still alive.
There are medical miracles and then there are simply miracles. Karen and Brian Wollman were told that their third child would be stillborn. And while their son was born alive, he was never expected to live. They prepared for his funeral, but this little boy wasn’t giving up without a fight.
The Wollmans looked forward to the birth of their third child. But an ultrasound showed that not only did their baby boy have Down’s Syndrome, he also had hydrops, which caused his body to swell with fluid. Doctors told the Wollmans he would likely be stillborn.
“They told us to expect that. But in my heart, you have to hold onto hope, so I just kept on telling him each and every day to keep his light shining bright. And I would sing him, This Little Light of Mine, each and every day. I would look in the backyard and see Riley and Paisley playing in the playhouse and I would envision this little boy one day being able to do that and that’s what got me through,” Karen said.
Renner Wollman was born at 35 weeks by emergency C-section.
“He did not cry when he was born, but he took one breath. All I remember is Brian crying and screaming, ‘Thank you. Thank you.’ We were just so happy we were going to meet him alive,” Karen said.
But keeping Renner alive was a struggle for his doctors.
“Within the first day, they sat us down and said, ‘He’s in kidney failure. If we can’t get his kidneys to work within the next 12 hours, he’s going to die,'” Karen said.
“We weren’t able to oxygenate his lung appropriately. He had to be put on the oscillator and we had to paralyze him. He had a very rocky course and he challenged us in every possible way,” Sanford Neonatologist Dr. M. Akram Khan said
“It was a roller coaster really. It was up and down, up and down,” Brian Wollman said.
The Wollmans were told to prepare for their son’s death and the medical team asked for their last wishes.