Celeste Diaz with her newborn son, Tane. Photo / Dean
A new mother is calling her little "ghost baby" a miracle
after he was born without a third of his blood.
Tane Anselmi entered into the world extremely pale like a
ghost and needed an emergency transfusion minutes after his
arrival to give him any chance of survival.
More than a third of the newborn's blood, about 80mls, had
leaked from him through the placenta into his mother Celeste
Diaz's blood stream.
Just 19 days on, Ms Diaz and her partner Corro Anselmi know
just how lucky they are to have little Tane with them at
their Waiheke Island home.
They say he would have died if they, their midwife or the
hospital had not acted so quickly.
"They [doctors] said it's a very weird condition - it's not
something they see very often and usually they wouldn't make
it. It is a bit of a miracle he's around us really," Ms Diaz
Between one in 5000 to one in 9000 babies worldwide are born
with fetal maternal haemorrhage and there is a high mortality
The condition, also known as "ghost baby" due to the pale
colour with which they are born, can be deadly because of the
loss of red blood cells which transport oxygen.
Baby Tane was given a blood transfusion minutes after he was
born and needed two more the days following. Over the next
few days his skin colour started transforming from a pale
white to a healthy pink glow.
Ms Diaz, who is originally from Argentina, thought she was
going into labour two weeks early when she felt her baby
bouncing around inside her.
A few hours later on the Saturday evening the movements
suddenly stopped and she couldn't feel the baby at all. Her
pregnancy had been going smoothly until then and the
first-time parents initially thought the baby had just run
out of room.
But the 31-year-old restaurant manager kept prodding her
stomach over the weekend to make the baby move and by Monday
morning she called her midwife as she was worried. A CTG scan
showed the baby's heart was beating more slowly than it
should have been and by 11am the same morning, Ms Diaz and Mr
Anselmi had been checked into Auckland City Hospital. They
had travelled to Auckland from their Waiheke Island home by
"At this stage we didn't know how bad it was or how urgent it
was because the CTG wasn't that clear something was really
wrong," Ms Diaz said.
Doctors reacted quickly as Tane's heart rated started to drop
and by 1.15pm that afternoon their baby was born by an
emergency caesarean section, weighing 2.890kgs.
"When they took him out he did like a little cry, and I
thought 'he's alive, oh good'." But it wasn't until an hour
later after Tane had an urgent blood transfusion and Ms Diaz
had recovered from her own surgery that she got to see her
son for the first time.
Her husband had been with him since about 10 minutes after he
was born and had been careful not to worry her about their
son's pale colour or heavy breathing as she recovered from
"They took me with the bed to see him in NICU. And he was all
with tubes and cables everywhere. It was really scary," she
After six days in NICU, Tane was shifted into a ward with his
mum and had made such a speedy recovery that a week after he
was born they took him home. Ms Diaz said he had settled in
well and was "excellent". He was feeding and growing well and
becoming more alert.
Auckland City Hospital neonatologist Dr Kitty Bach said fetal
maternal haemorrhage was relatively uncommon and could be
fatal if not treated quickly. . The cause was unknown.
Dr Bach said it was important the condition be picked up
quickly and urged mums-to-be to contact their midwives or
lead maternity carer if they noticed their baby's movements
- Nikki Preston