Always trust your maternal instinct, and ask for help the moment you feel that something is not right. It could save both your lives.
The survival of baby Olivia Norton, now six months, has to be regarded as a medical miracle, because when she emerged from the womb she was completely white in colour. In an awful and incredibly rare condition, the six-week premature baby girl had a haemoglobin – the chemical which carries oxygen in red blood cells – count too low to be officially classed as blood.
31 year-old mother Louise Bearman – a barrister’s clerk – described the shock she felt at birthing such a ghostly white baby as immense – Olivia’s condition indeed so rare that it and she she will feature in medical text books in the future. The baby was, at the time, given less than two hours to live, but the dedicated medical team ensured her survival by administering emergency transfusions, transforming the tiny ghost girl a glowing healthy pink baby.
Olivia came into the world at 8.20pm on Saturday September 10, the tiny girl only 5lbs 3oz in weight with a dangerously low heartbeat. The team on hand quickly realized what the problem was, and as haemoglobin is the protein giving blood not only that red colour but also the ability to carry oxygen around the body, newborn Olivia was rushed to the hospital’s special care baby unit.
There she was she was monitored over 14 days, her strength and colour restored to her tiny body via two blood transfusions, neo-natal nurse Sharon Pilgrim commenting that, in 20 years in maternity care she had never before heard of such low haemoglobin levels in any baby. Tests had revealed that where her count should have been around 18, it was actually three.
Mother Louise and 36 year-old greengrocer partner Paul Norton first realized something was amiss when not feeling baby feel Olivia kicking in the womb over a three day period. They rushed to Chelmsford Broomfield Hospital, and when a 15 minute scan by nurses showed no movement doctors ordered an emergency Cesarean operation immediately.
Miraculously, Olivia survived, despite being incredibly pale when born and having breathing difficulties breathing. Even though no signs of blood loss occurred during the procedure, it emerged later that the baby had lost blood directly into the blood circulation of her mother, the reason for her condition.
Hospital staff did not just perform an amazing job, but also dubbed Olivia a miracle baby, only surviving because Louise and Paul had come into the hospital in time. Think about it if you too are pregnant. The importance of baby movement in the womb cannot be over-stated as an indicator of good health, so always trust your maternal instinct, and ask for help the moment you feel that something is not right. It could save both your lives.
Published in: Family