Miracle baby joy for mum suffering from rare blood condition that causes miscarriage

Emma Pietras
Yahoo! Lifestyle News

A woman with a one in 30 million blood disorder that causes her to miscarry has given birth to a healthy baby boy.


[Related: Mum's baby joy after cancer scare]

 
Gaynor Offland, 35, suffers from a life threatening condition that causes clots to form in her body.
 
When doctors discovered pregnancy was the trigger, they advised her not to get pregnant because of the risks to her life and her unborn baby.
 
But Gaynor refused to give up on her dream of having a family and now thanks to treatment, she is a mother at last.
 
Yesterday, as she cuddled her two-week-old son Oliver, she said: "It's still not sunk in yet. I can't take my eyes off him.
 
"It took a long time to have him. It's been a roller coaster but it was all worth it.
 
"I feel complete."
 
Gaynor, from Telford, Shropshire, suffered the heartbreak of losing three babies, including twin girls at 24 weeks.
 
Doctors at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital put her first miscarriage down to pre-eclampsia because the symptoms are almost identical.
 
But after she lost her daughters in 2006, medics decided to run tests.
 
The results were sent to a specialist in London and Gaynor was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called Congenital Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Pupura (TTP), which causes clots to form in her body because of a missing enzyme in her plasma.
 
It can lead to organ failure and even death.
 
The clots can also block the blood flow to the placenta, cutting off the baby's oxygen supply.
 
Teaching assistant Gaynor and her partner Alan Griffiths, 55, were stunned when they were told the condition was triggered by pregnancy.
 
Gaynor said: "It was a total shock.
 
"We didn't know what the condition was or where it came from. No one in my family has ever had a problem.
 
"Doctors advised me not to get pregnant but I was determined.
 
"My life wasn't going to be complete without a baby. I had to try."
 
In September last year, Gaynor fell pregnant but lost the baby at seven weeks before doctors could begin treatment.
 
Gaynor said: "Alan has three children from a previous relationship but I told him right from the start I wanted to be a mum.
 
"After the miscarriages, I started to think maybe I'd been put on earth to look after other people's children and I wasn't meant to have one of my own.
 
"I was also aware that I was getting older and the chances of conceiving were less and less."
 
Then in January this year, she missed a period and her GP confirmed she was expecting.
 
Her consultant advised her to take aspirin and she also had to give herself daily injections in her stomach to prevent clots.
 
When she reached 12 weeks, medics were able to start plasmapheresis, which involves removing her plasma and replacing it with donor plasma that contains the enzyme.
 
Gaynor said: "I needed an operation to insert a catheter in my chest then I had to go to the hospital and be hooked up to a machine twice a week.
 
"Each bag of plasma costs £750 and I needed eight bags every week.
 
"Alan came to every hospital appointment with me. He didn't leave my side."
 
She describes it as a relief when she made it past 24 weeks as that is the point when she usually miscarries.
 
She said: "There wasn't a day that went past when I wasn't worried though.
 
"It was always at the back of my mind."
 
Doctors decided to induce Gaynor's labour when she was 37 weeks because it was too risky to keep the baby in the womb any longer.
 
She was given double the amount of plasma the week before the birth.
 
Oliver, who has been hailed a miracle by doctors, was born on October 2, weighing a healthy 6lb 15oz.
 
Gaynor said: "Until I heard him cry, I refused to believe he was okay.
 
"The care from the hospital has been spot on. I couldn't have asked for better. They have gone above and beyond.
 
"A lot of people have helped to bring Oliver into the world. He wouldn't be here without all those people who donated blood. I can't thank them enough.
 
"The birth really brought back memories of the babies I'd lost but we had a happy ending this time instead of a sad one."
 
The condition is genetic so Oliver may pass it on to his children in the future but he has been given a clean bill of health.
 
The hospital has now named it's two machines after Gaynor and Oliver in their honour.
 
Alan, who is a park ranger, said: "I knew how much Gaynor wanted a baby. She was willing to put life on the line for it. I couldn't have said no.
 
"I didn't think I'd be changing nappies again at my age but I couldn't be happier."
 
Dr Sreekanth Reddivari, Consultant Haematologist at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Gaynor has an extremely rare condition called Congenital Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Pupura (TTP). Only around 100 cases are described worldwide.
 
"Untreated TTP has a mortality rate close to 90 per cent. Therefore in the past, Gaynor was advised not to become pregnant again because of the risks to her own life.
 
"However, with time Gaynor decided that she would brave the risks if there was a chance of having a live baby.
 
"The hospital is extremely proud to help Gaynor achieve her dream. This is nothing short of a miracle."