Maria Sandars and Chris Morrison, from East Yorkshire, England, were expecting their third child, a baby girl named Frankie. But late into the pregnancy, Maria began to feel that something wasn’t right.
“I went into hospital on the Sunday before she was born because I couldn’t feel her moving,” she told SWNS TV.
“They said that she might just be feeling lazy, but I knew something wasn’t right.”
Initially, the doctors didn’t find anything wrong and sent Maria home. But she still felt something was wrong: the baby still didn’t seem to be moving.
So she returned to the hospital. This time the doctors evaluated her, and while the baby still had a heartbeat, they discovered something was wrong.
Not only that, Frankie had a shocking and extremely rare condition:
She only had two tablespoons of blood.
Baby Frankie only had 35 ml of blood in her body — 15 percent of the normal amount. She had far more water in her body than blood.
It was a dire situation. The doctors immediately performed an emergency C-section.
“When she came out she was unresponsive,” Maria recalled to SWNS. “They got her out and started working on her straight away.”
While the baby was born, the situation still seemed grim — and doctors cautioned the new parents to prepare for the worst. The doctors offered a priest to bless the baby, which they took as a bad sign.
“When I came around from the operation I could see people standing around me crying,” Maria told SWNS.
“I thought I had lost her.”
When Maria finally saw her new baby, she was heartbroken by the sight: the doctors were at work draining water from her chest.
“I went up to her and there was this chubby little eight-pound baby who was so bloated because she had all this water instead of blood inside her,” Maria told SWNS.
But despite the odds, Maria had a strong feeling her daughter would survive:
“I just took one look at her and knew she was a fighter and would pull through.”
The doctors did everything they could. She underwent two blood transfusions at the hospital, but there didn’t seem to be any improvement.
The forecast remained grim: the parents were warned that, even if Frankie did survive, she would likely be confined to a wheelchair or brain damaged.
“They said to us that basically her chances weren’t looking good and she was being assessed minute-by-minute rather than hour-by-hour or day-by-day,” Maria told SWNS.
Her only chance of survival was to be transferred to another hospital in Leicester. The family boarded a medical helicopter.
But then, a miracle happened.
During the helicopter ride, Frankie showed sudden signs of improvement, as if the earlier blood transfusions had just started to take effect.
Everyone was once again stunned. Frankie was only admitted to Leicester for three days until she was transferred back.
And soon, against all odds, Frankie was allowed to go home.
Frankie is now almost 2 years old. Despite the initial fears, Frankie has made a miraculous recovery — aside from a slightly weakened immune system, she’s perfectly normal.
“She went back at 6 months for a checkup with her consultant and he was nearly in tears because he couldn’t believe how well she was doing,” Maria told SWNS.
She had survived an extraordinarily rare lack of blood for a newborn.
“It’s not completely unheard of but in Frankie’s case it was so severe,” Maria explained. “Babies can pass blood back through the umbilical cord but its never normally anywhere near like she did.”
Maria thanks the hospital staff for their tireless efforts and credits them for Frankie’s survival.
“We feel so lucky because we saw so, so many sad things in those three weeks, but to walk out with Frankie is the best feeling in the world, and it is down to them,” Maria told SWNS.
She’ll also never take anything for granted again — and is just happy everyone made it through, happy and healthy.
“I would never class myself as unlucky again after seeing what Frankie went through,” she told SWNS.