MIAMI (CBS4) — Two liver transplant recipients are speaking out about the birth of their healthy baby boy in Miami.
At two years old, Trine Engebretsen made news headlines in the 1980s when she received her liver transplant in Pittsburgh. She was among the few young patients known as “Reagan children” because then-President Ronald Reagan used his radio addresses to generate public interest in organ transplantation.
Engebretsen’s husband, Ryan Labbe, also had a liver transplant. Their son Andersen Thomas Labbe, who was born in July, is believed to be the first baby born to two liver transplant recipients.
“I am starting to wonder what I signed myself up for because it was a lot of work,” joked Trine to a room full of reporters.
Transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis, M.D., who assisted in Trine’s liver transplant in 1984 in Pittsburgh, has been caring for her at UM/Jackson’s Miami Transplant Institute ever since.
Her husband’s liver transplant surgery was also performed by Dr. Tzakis.
“It is a motivation for us to perfect what we do which is really the desire of or lives,” said Dr. Tzakis.
Because pregnancies of transplant recipients are considered high risk, Trine, now 30 years old, was also being closely monitored by obstetrician, Salih Yasin, M.D., at the Women’s Hospital Center at JMH.
“I like to know what to expect and be prepared. It is also really scary especially with all the complications. So I learned to ignore those chapters and read only the normal ones,” said Engebretsen
“When you think about all the things that can go wrong during a regular pregnancy and think about a transplant or a high risk one, it is a miracle,” said Ryan Labbe.
Doctors are overjoyed because the fact that Trine had her transplant so long ago helped her beat the normal complications for transplant patients.
“Patients with transplants are on medications, they are prone to infections and have blood pressure issues and a multitude of other complications,” said Dr. Yasin.
Now this grown woman is using her past to focus on a future for her family and others.
“I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to be like doctor Tsakis and wanted to help,” said Engebretsen.