Ghost white: Baby born with 'no blood' and given two hours to live is hailed a miracle after bouncing back to health
Olivia had a severe case of newborn anaemia. The haemoglobin count in her red blood cells was too low to be classed as bloodBaby had two emergency transfusions to turn her from ghostly white to 'amazing pink'
00:52 GMT, 3 April 2012
Smiling, healthy and six months old, Olivia Norton is understandably the apple of her mother’s eye.
Yet when she was born doctors were stunned by her ‘snow-white’ appearance – because she had no blood in her body.
A rare condition meant her blood had run directly back into her mother’s circulatory system.
Olivia had haemoglobin levels of three instead of the average 18
The newborn had such a low count of haemoglobin – the chemical which carries oxygen in red blood cells – that it could not officially be classed as blood.
She was given less than two hours to live but survived thanks to emergency transfusions which transformed her skin to pink.
Yesterday her mother told of her shock at a condition so unusual that it will be written into medical text books. ‘Olivia was my first baby, so I didn’t really know what to expect – but I certainly didn’t think she’d be that colour,’ said 31-year-old Louise Bearman, a barrister’s clerk from Witham, Essex.
Full of life: Olivia Norton was described by doctors as 'white and floppy' when she was born
Intensive care: Olivia was treated with blue light phototherapy for neonatal jaundice. Jaundice is caused when the liver is not mature enough to adequately break down the red blood cells
‘I’ll never forget what the doctor’s notes said – “white and floppy”.’
Miss Bearman said she and her partner
Paul Norton, 36, noticed Olivia had abruptly stopped kicking six weeks
before she was due to be born.
After three days without movement they went to Broomfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, where doctors ordered an emergency caesarean.
The 5lb 3oz infant had blood
haemoglobin levels of only three, compared with a normal 18. She was
given two transfusions in the special care baby unit.
'She slowly turned this amazing pink colour': Louise Bearman with her precious daughter
The condition is known as a
fetomaternal haemorrhage, with severe cases occurring in one in 5,000
pregnancies. It can be spontaneous or as a result of trauma.
Neonatal nurse Sharon Pilgrim said she
had never heard of such low haemoglobin levels. ‘It was a miracle
Olivia survived. She was incredibly pale and had difficulties
Miss Bearman added: ‘It was amazing
when they put the blood in Olivia and she slowly turned pink. The
hospital staff were amazing. They called Olivia the “miracle baby” and
said if I hadn’t come in for treatment she would not have survived.
‘I want mums to realise how important
a baby’s movement is in checking they are healthy. You have to trust
your maternal instinct.’