Meet a Small Fry : Matilda

Today we have a special Meet a Small Fry for you! It is all about Matilda, the fourteen month old fighter and her champion mother, Kelly.

“Last summer my husband and I, along with our two and a half year old son Parker, moved across the country. We had so much to look forward to but were most excited for the arrival of our second child. A girl to be named Matilda. Like most parents we had some worries, but never in a million years could we have imagined the amount of pain, heartbreak, and happiness that her arrival would bring.

Matilda was born on September 21st, 2012. She was perfect and healthy. We took her home, we ate chocolate cake, and we laughed and danced in the living room. Everything was how it should be. Until she started sleeping more, eating less, and throwing up after nursing. We took her to the ER when she was eight days old, which led to an ambulance ride to the nearest children’s hospital and a subsequent transfer to NYC. I was told my now nine-day-old baby was in critical condition with acute liver failure.


To this day, I have no idea what happened. I cannot comprehend how I went from holding the most beautiful healthy baby girl I had ever seen to watching her limp body wither away.

Matilda was placed on the top of the transplant waiting list – she weighed 6 pounds and would need a whole liver from a baby of similar size. This broke my heart. I was naive and had never considered that babies need small organs.

The idea of a liver transplant honestly terrified me. The statistics for surviving such a surgery at Matilda’s weight and age did not encourage a hopeful outlook. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to Matilda at the door of an operating room and worse, not being by her side if she were to pass. I looked to previous neonatal liver transplant recipients for encouragement and to my faith for solace.

The days leading up to Matilda’s transplant were overwhelming. I remember feeling butterflies every time I looked at her. She was slipping away; we could see that. Complications continued to stack up and talk of removing Matilda from the waiting list grew closer by the minute. They warned us that she might not remain a viable candidate for much longer.


We refused to lose hope and were determined to enjoy life by celebrating the time we had together. I made Matilda an owl costume for Halloween. She looked adorable.

Then November 2nd, Matilda’s six-week birthday, her match was found. It came from a two week old. When the transplant team came to us with the news, we felt confident. Our last hours with Matilda prior to the transplant were peaceful and beautiful. We held her hand, we read her stories, sang her songs, and prayed for comfort and strength. The transplant went better than anyone could have imagined. The surgeon said it was remarkable that she was still alive. Only 1% of her original liver was still functional when they removed it from her tiny body.

Meet a Small Fry : Matilda

Every day, every moment that I hold Matilda close, kiss her cheeks, and make her laugh I am reminded that she is a gift. The moments that I have with her were conceived, nourished, and brought into this world by another family. A mother chose – in what I imagine to have been the saddest moment of her life – to bring light into my life through the gift of organ donation.

We were blessed, many are not. Please take a moment to consider registering yourself and your children to become organ donors and save lives in the wake of tragedy.”

Thanks so much for your moving words, Kelly! You can follow Kelly, Matilda and their family on their blog Cloudy Day Gray. If you are interested in registering to be an organ donor, click here for a registration map by state. 


We have an awesome giveaway on our Instagram page today from our sponsor Koo De Ker! Koo De Ker has been a loyal sponsor since our very first weeks of starting Small Fry and we love their amazing shop! Visit @smallfryblog to enter to win $150 to shop.

Here’s a taste at what their shop has to offer:Koo De Ker, SLC

[Nicole’s white skirt, Jenna’s embellished top and Emily’s lamé lounge pants]


  • Heather
    November 22, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Wow that story definitely made me cry. Such a strong family and what a special baby.

  • Trisha
    November 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    This story made me cry. My husband needed a liver transplant soon after birth and somehow was able to make it to 4 years old and had two transplants.
    He is now almost 27 and is so healthy!
    Ours is a genetic condition that will pass onto our girls.
    The thought of having a baby girl go through this is heart wrenching cause I someday may go through it too.

    A family needs strong faith and love to survive these trials!

  • Alie
    November 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

    this is so beautiful! we lost a newborn baby last year and worked so hard to donate her (live) organs. in the end we were able to donate her heart valves. they just got sent to a hospital in Georgia and we are anxiously awaiting news that they have been transplanted. organ donation is really needed in infants, but there aren’t a lot of infant donors. so glad you are bringing awareness! and so glad Matilda is healthy now. 🙂

  • Sarah Tyau
    November 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    What a beautiful story, I am so glad she is healthy and alive!

  • Gwen, The Makerista
    November 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    This is such a touching story. I can’t even imagine going through that, what a little miracle!

  • lyndsay // coco cake land
    November 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    dear kelly, we only know each other through the blogging world but each time i read about matilda’s story, as a fellow mom to a 15 month old boy, my heart breaks over and over – matilda is such a beautiful and ridiculously cute little munchkin – and you are such an amazing and strong woman and mother!! love to you guys! xo

  • Caleigh
    November 23, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Organ donation is such a generous unselfish gift. I am so grateful for the family who saved my granddaughter Matilda’s life through their donation. I cry every time if think of them.

  • Tahnie
    November 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! Thank you so much for spreading awareness of the crucial need for organ donors! I received my mother’s kidney 19 years ago when I was 11 years old. I am incredibly blessed it is still working right now!

  • Ice Cream Cone Garland | Small Fry
    June 30, 2014 at 5:01 am

    […] biggest sweetheart, Kelly of Cloudy Day Gray! We first told you about Kelly and the story of her Mighty Matilda here. So when she asked us to contribute a simple craft idea to brighten the rooms of families with […]


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