AN IRVINE baby has battled back to health after having three blood transfusions while she was still in the womb.

Little Orla Thomson was born five weeks premature by emergency c-section after contracting foetal anaemia in the womb.

Her parents Courtney McCann, 21, and Adam Thomson, 24, were left distraught when doctors told them she was struggling to breath just seconds after she was born.

The couple, from Castlepark, faced an anguished wait for news following her birth as doctors whisked her away to intensive care.

Orla’s problems began in the womb when Courtney developed antibodies in her blood which caused Orla to develop issues.

Medics performed an Intrauterine transfusion (IUT) on the unborn child – a procedure that provides blood to a foetus, most commonly through the umbilical cord. It is used in cases of severe fetal anaemia, such as when fetal red blood cells are being destroyed by maternal antibodies.

Courtney said: “We fell pregnant and at 16 weeks I got a call from the midwife saying I had antibodies in my blood and that was breaking down the baby’s blood cells causing her to have foetal anaemia.

“When I was 29 weeks pregnant she needed to have three blood transfusions which they had to do while she was still in the womb. When I was 35 weeks pregnant they decided to give me an emergency C-Section.

“When Orla was born we didn’t get to see her or hold her because she was struggling to breathe on her own and was badly jaundice. She spent three days in intensive care and in an incubator. She had problems feeding because she was early she had not developed the sucking reflex.”

But despite everything, six-month-old Orla is thriving at home with big sister Jessica, four.

Courtney said: “She is doing great now. Doctors also discovered she has a wee heart murmur but they think that will go away.”