After Baby’s Belly Won’t Stop Growing, Her Parents Rush To The Doctor And Get The Alarming News

They say that raising a child can feel like having your heart exist outside of your body. That’s why, for most parents, there are few greater nightmares than the discovery that their child has a serious illness. Unfortunately, that tragic scenario recently became reality for Chris and Sarah St. James.

While the couple’s infant daughter, Sloan, initially appeared to be as happy and healthy as they come, it wasn’t long before something changed. Seemingly out of nowhere, she was developing a “Buddha belly” that wouldn’t stop growing.

After doctors explained what was happening, the new parents realized desperate times called for desperate measures…

For Chris St. James and his wife, Sarah, life in the sleepy Cape Cod town of Bourne, Massachusetts, could not have been happier. They had a wonderful relationship and an amazing son, Carter. Yet things were about to get even better.

Sarah St. James / Facebook

That was all thanks to the arrival of their second child, Sloan! With their new baby girl in the picture, Chris and Sarah’s lives were truly blessed. Only, it wasn’t long before the family noticed something strange about Sloan…

Sarah St. James / Facebook

By the time Sloan was just two months old, she had developed a “Buddha belly” and she looked slightly jaundiced. Up to that point, she had been developing normally and all seemed well, but her rapidly growing tummy was unusual.

Chris and Sarah were so concerned that they took Sloan straight to the hospital rather than their regular pediatrician. Unfortunately, once there, the news they received was not pleasant…

Sarah & Christopher St. James / YouCaring

The doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital diagnosed Sloan with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver that damages or blocks the bile ducts. All of a sudden, baby Sloan’s life was in serious danger.

JosephBarillari / Wikimeda Commons

Obviously, the parents were heartbroken. “Here we are thinking we’re bringing her in for peace of mind, and instead it was devastating,” Sarah later recalled in an interview with the Sentinel Source.

It was truly a nightmare for the family. “Your mind blocks out that it could be this, this and this. Instead, it was this, this and this—everything we dreaded came true,” Sarah continued.

Sloan was released from the hospital, but unfortunately, she needed to be rushed back the very next week. This time, Chris and Sarah were given even worse news: Sloan needed a liver transplant—now.

Sarah & Christopher St. James / YouCaring

Sloan was put on a waiting list, but as her condition grew worse, there was no time to waste. She’d surely die if she didn’t have surgery as soon as possible, and only a living donor could give her a real shot at pulling through.

There was just one major problem: Sloan had blood type O—and neither of her parents were matches. They were forced to ask just about everybody they knew in hopes that somebody—anybody—would help save her.

This was a lot to ask, and even those who were willing to undergo the procedure may not have been good candidates. Yet when a friend of the family, Jake Tenney, shared the couple’s request on his own social media pages, an incredible thing happened…

Jake’s brother, Lt. Steve Tenney, took notice. Steve was a veteran of the U.S. Army, as well as an 18-year member of the police department in Keane, New Hampshire—and he immediately stepped up to the plate.

This wasn’t the first time Steve had put his own life on the line to save another. Still, it was remarkable what this good Samaritan was willing to do for a little girl and family he’d never even met.

Luckily, Steve was in excellent health. In his whole life, he’d never even stayed overnight in a hospital. Heck, he reportedly hadn’t even felt the need to visit a doctor in more than 10 years!

Before Steve could be approved for the procedure, he needed to undergo a series of tests. Doctors needed to determine if they could remove his liver so that they could cut off roughly 20 percent of it before placing it back in his body—without putting him at risk.

“I was in a good position,” Steve explained. “My wife and I talked and it was really a no-brainer—if you can help a four-month-old and potentially save her life, it’s something you’re going to do.”

As brave a face as Steve was putting on, he admitted that the night of his first exams worried him a great deal. “I went home and I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing?'” he explained.

Sloanie Strong- Sloan’s battle with Biliary Atresia / Facebook

Fortunately, both Steve and Sloan’s surgeries were successful, and since livers have the unique ability to regenerate themselves, Steve’s was expected to be back to normal soon. Meanwhile, Sloan’s liver would grow as she developed. The fight didn’t end there, however…

Sloan needed a variety of medications to avoid infection and prevent her body from rejecting the new organ. Thankfully, a few months later, she was already drinking breast milk again. That was a good sign!

Sarah St. James / Facebook

There’s no telling what the future holds for Sloan or her family, but she’s doing better than anyone expected. And it’s all thanks to one man who literally gave a piece of himself for a stranger!

It’s always worth it to save a young life—even if you’re a stranger! Everyone involved in this story deserves the best of luck moving forward.

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