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There are many circumstances for people to need blood. Blood is used in treating blood-related diseases like cancer or leukemia, replenish blood lost in a nasty accident and surgical operations. Every two seconds, someone needs blood and without sufficient blood supply in the hospitals, lots of lives will be lost.
For Jasmine, Zahlee and Olivia, their fight for life had begun even before they were all born. Each child has a unique condition while still in their mother’s wombs, but with blood transfusion, these three angels were given the chance to live.
Each child has her own story, read on about the battles these miracle babies went through and how blood donors saved their delicate lives.
Jasmine Tanner received 11 Blood Transfusions Before She Was Born
Jasmine Tanner is a healthy, happy and cute 3 year old girl born to Duncan and Melanie Tanner. She turns 4 years old this August, each birthday is a day of thanksgiving.
While still on her mother’s womb, Jasmine already received 11 lifesaving blood transfusions because her blood had the normal proteins was incompatible with her mom’s. Melanie has Rh- blood while Jasmine has Rh+, the blood type that she got from her father. This rare condition, called rhesus disease, caused the antibodies produced by Melanie to destroy her baby’s blood cells. This can consequently put baby Jasmine at risk of dying from heart failure. Rhesus disease is so rare that it affects just one in 10,000 women.
Melanie was diagnosed of rhesus disease when she was nine weeks pregnant. The only way to treat the baby was through a risky blood transfusion while she was in the womb.
Mixed feelings of doom and anxiety accompanied Melanie during her trips to the hospital whenever she was scheduled to undergo the intricate procedure of blood transfusion for her baby. Each operation scared the mother to death because there was a one in 10 chance that she’d lose her baby during the surgery. But a mother’s love for her child endures pain and fears. She knew she and her husband must do everything possible – whatever it takes – to give their baby the best chance of survival.
When the fetus was small, blood was injected directly through Melanie’s stomach into the baby’s tummy which was then absorbed into her circulation. This procedure was done until Melanie gave birth by a caesarian section at her 34th week. When Jasmine was born, she was taken into intensive care at Southampton General Hospital and was given three more blood transfusions.
After few years of the operation that almost claimed her life, Jasmine is now living a healthy and happy life with her parents and two older brothers. No trace of near-death moments etched her face; the only evidence that this angel fought for her life are the scars of injection on her abdomen.
Without the available blood at the hospital during the times when Melanie and Jasmine needed them the most, the baby would not have survived. Melanie owes the life of Jasmine to people who donated blood. “Without people who generously donate blood, our beautiful little girl would not be here with us today,” she added.
Zahlee Currie’s Life Saved by Blood Transfusion When She Was still a Fetus
Just like Jasmine, Zahlee Currie’s life was saved by a rare in-utero blood transfusion before she was even born.
When she was still in her mother’s womb, Zahlee contacted a parvovirus, a virus that destroys bone marrow, which creates red blood cells. This resulted to Zahlee having severe anemia while still a fetus, a condition that almost claimed her life.
Her mom, Rachel Fellowes, was warned by her obstetrician about the baby’s condition after a 20-week scan. The obstetrician, Dr. Anthony Woodward, noticed that Zahlee’s tummy was slightly swollen and requested for further tests. Rachel then went to Royal Women’s Hospital, where she was treated immediately.
Rachel learned that her 400 gram baby had heart failure, enlarged liver and had fluid around the heart, liver and bowel. Zahlee’s hemoglobin count was 3.4 when it should have been above 11. The doctors at the hospital had to transfuse 25ml of blood using a needle through Rachel’s abdomen into the umbilical cord, which went directly into the baby’s bloodstream.
An additional 15ml was put into the baby’s abdomen, that was then released over the following weeks.
The procedure was risky and scary, but after the blood transfusion, a picture of hope came into the scene. Zahlee’s hemoglobin count ascended to 12.1 and fortunately, there were no signs of problems nine days after the operation. Few months after the procedure, Rachel gave birth to Zahlee, her third child. The doctor at the hospital said that had the transfusion been done much later, Zahlee would have died. She wouldn’t have come out from her mom’s womb alive.
If it weren’t because of the available blood at that time in the hospital, Zahlee Currie would not have lived to see the world. Now, baby Zahlee is two years old and is living a fantastic life with her family who did everything just to keep her alive and safe.
Olivia Norton was Born Without Blood
Baby Olivia Norton didn’t have the conditions like Jasmine and Zahlee had, but hers was entirely a rare one – so rare that it’s being documented in medical text books.
Olivia was born on September 10, 2011 to first-time mom Louise Bearman. But the excitement of seeing her first born right after giving birth was turned into shock when she found out that her 5lb 3oz baby was “born without blood”.
Doctors said that Olivia had severe case of anemia where she had very low levels of hemoglobin.. Hemoglobin is the chemical that carries oxygen in red blood cells. Olivia’s hemoglobin levels was only 3 when the normal should have been 18; it was so low that it could not officially be identified as blood.
Louise and her partner, Paul, noticed that the baby suddenly stopped kicking six weeks before Louise was about to give birth. There was still no movement after three days so the couple went to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, UK to check up on the baby. The doctors then demanded an emergency caesarian.
Louise said Olivia was incredibly pale when born and had difficulties breathing. This puzzled the new mom since there was no sign of blood loss before and during the caesarian operation. After doing further tests on Louise, the doctors found out that the baby had lost blood directly into her mother’s blood circulation. This condition, which is called Vasa Previa, happens when the blood vessels in the placenta or umbilical cord are trapped between the fetus and the opening to the birth canal.
Olivia’s chance of survival was slim. The doctors called her “white and floppy” and even gave the baby about two hours to live.
Olivia was given two blood transfusions in the special care baby unit and fortunately, her color slowly turned to pink. Without the available blood in the hospital on the day baby Olivia was born, she could have died. Who would have thought that the very thing she was born without would be the thing that would save her life.
These miracle babies have had 3 things going for them that kept them alive: faith, love and blood. Faith from their loved ones that they will live no matter how impossible the situation may have been; Love from their parents who would go an extra mile just to save the lives of their precious babies; and Blood from faceless donors who gave a part of themselves knowing that they’d extend someone else’s life.
We can never underestimate the importance of having sufficient blood supplies in blood banks or hospitals. For the selfless blood donors, they only lose 1 pint of blood, but it mean the world to the families and people who need it. Jasmine, Zahlee and Olivia are just three of the living proof that your donated blood will go a long, long way.
Communities are forever grateful to the unsung heroes who have donated and continue to donate blood! If weren’t because of you, these three girls wouldn’t have had the chance to see how beautiful and generous this world is!
There is no end to the need, there is no other time but now. Save lives and donate, search through the Blood Banker directory for a blood /plasma bank near you.
Help eliminate the blood shortage, Join the International Blood Registry.