Paul Rybkin and Karen Rodas were delighted to learn that they were expecting a second child after their first had died just 36 hours after birth due to a rare disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
Unfortunately, the New Jersey couple received the shock of a lifetime when doctors told them that their new daughter also had the disease, Mad World News reports.
Unbeknownst to Rybkin and Rodas, both are carriers of the recessive gene for PKD. According to the Sun, the disease causes clusters of cysts to grow in the kidneys, and it can lead to kidney and liver failure.
After their son Nathaniel passed away from the disease, the couple was told their future children would have a one-in-four chance of developing the condition.
The couple prayed they could give birth without the presence of PKD.
"The chances of any of our babies surviving, if they were born with it, was very low," explained Rodas. "Nathaniel didn't stand a chance. Just 36 hours after his first cry brought him to life, he was gone.
"When I fell pregnant again, we were both over the moon," she added. "Then, at our 20-week scan, they found Maddy's kidneys were enlarged - a sure sign of PKD - just like Nathaniel. My heart sank. I was determined we didn't lose our baby to the deadly disease again."
The family found a PKD expert in Philadelphia who assisted them with their pregnancy, and on Nov. 7, 2013, Rodas gave birth to Maddy via early labor induction.
Unfortunately, because of the PKD, Maddy was born with a swollen stomach that was so bloated it appeared as though she were pregnant. Her kidneys were reportedly three times the size of a normal adult's.
Maddy's condition caused her to feel lethargic, and she often slept up to 18 hours per day, Mad World News notes. After a year and a half, Maddy's kidneys began to fail and she desperately needed a transplant in order to survive.
Fortunately, Rybkin was a match for his daughter and was able to donate one of his kidneys to save Maddy's life.
Thanks to her father, Maddy, now 2 years old, is living a healthy, happy life.