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Ciara & Barry's Story

Our daughter Jessica was born a year ago yesterday. I had a very healthy pregnancy and was looking forward to finishing up work for my maternity leave and becoming a Mum for the first time.

One morning, I noticed that her kicks were much quieter than normal. I rang the hospital and they invited us to come in and connect the baby to the heart monitor for reassurance. However, it appeared that our baby was in trouble so the Consultant decided to do an emergency caesarean although I had more than 3 weeks until my due date.

Jessica was born at 5lbs 6oz but was the whitest little thing you ever saw and barely resembled a new born. It soon emerged that she had suffered a rare silent feto-maternal haemorrhage and had haemoglobin of just 4.7, instead of 18-20 which is normal for a newborn. She needed two blood transfusions immediately and spent a week in neo-natal care. We were told that 5 minutes more of a delay would have been too much for her and she wouldn't have survived.

We couldn't believe the difference in her after her transfusions. Her skin tone pinked up, her eyes opened and she began to feed well. We are so grateful that my sister Maeve encouraged us to go to the hospital that day and that the doctors acted so quickly, but also to the donors for providing Jessica with her O- blood, which is a rare type. Jessica made an incredible recovery and has been the picture of health since her scary entry into the world.

For her birthday presents, we have asked our friends and family to give blood. Barry, my husband, has been a regular donor for the last year and I donated myself for the first time in eight years on her birthday. It really is the gift of life.

Jessica

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930