My blood type conflicted with my babies’ and I have nothing but praise for medical staff at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust who saved both my children.

They had to have urgent care and treatment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as the blood conflict caused my blood cells to develop antibodies that attacked the babies’ blood cells causing jaundice.

Vanessa was nursed back to health from the life threatening condition after developing serious jaundice. She was even given an exchange transfusion, a procedure where all the blood is slowly removed and replaced with fresh donor blood.

Vanessa is now a healthy eight-year-old but when I had baby Kaya, I faced the same blood conflict problem. Of
course, I had every faith in the team at East Lancashire Hospitals and knew Kaya would be in the best of hands.

I was hugely reassured when I recognised the doctor who had cared for Vanessa. Both my daughters have
been in NICU and cared for by Dr Naharmi Soni. He is my biggest hero.

A few hours after Vanessa was born, I realised her skin was changing to orange, then brown. She looked like she had a dark tan and I remember thinking: ‘something is definitely wrong.’

I asked the midwife to have a look at her and she realised Vanessa had very severe jaundice and took her for light therapy and took blood samples.

Phototherapy is used to reduce high bilirubin levels that cause jaundice in a newborn. The baby is exposed to a type of fluorescent light that is absorbed by their skin. During this process, the bilirubin in the baby’s body is changed into another form that can be more easily excreted. A baby with jaundice may need to stay under a phototherapy light for several days.

Dr Soni took us to a private room and explained everything really well. We were warned Vanessa had a 50/50 chance. Luckily, everything was fine. Vanessa had a full blood exchange transfusion. She spent about eight days after the transfusion in NICU and remained on light therapy for about a week. Everything went well and she recovered wonderfully.

Kaya was induced at 35 weeks and born at Burnley General Teaching Hospital on February 14, weighing 5lbs 10oz. She was given immunoglobulin to help her recover, had several blood transfusions and was given light therapy.

She now has regular blood tests to monitor her progress. I feel confident and secure about Kaya’s future thanks to the excellent care Vanessa received.

When I went to NICU at Burnley with Kaya, and saw Dr Soni, I started crying as I felt so happy.

I told him he is my biggest hero as I appreciate everything he has done so much. Dr Soni deals with babies and parents in a wonderful manner. He explains things very well and is very caring and is genuine and shows real emotion.

The nurses are like mothers to the children and do everything they can to make them better. They are not just doing a job but truly care. To me, they are all like angels.

Dr Soni said “Medical advances in the last eight years and better lights meant Kaya needed lots of lights to control the jaundice and blood transfusions rather than an exchange transfusion which is riskier. Once we slowed down the rate of destruction of red cells, then Kaya was on the road to recovery. It was pleasing to have mum recognise me after eight years and very rewarding to hear how much trust and faith Katrina has in me. It makes the job so worthwhile, satisfying and rewarding.”