Milo Alexander Anderson is living proof of the power and importance of blood donation.
His mother, Amy Anderson, learned 20 weeks into her pregnancy with Milo that she carried a rare protein called Antibody E in her blood. Her doctors in Bend, Ore., were monitoring the levels of the antibody, as it can, in rare cases, cause complications for the fetus. Within two months, her levels had spiked, and Amy was referred to the maternal fetal experts at Women’s Care in Eugene for aggressive management of the situation.
Her new doctors diagnosed baby Milo with fetal anemia, a potentially fatal condition. His growth had stalled due to the lack of red cells in his blood. To address the problem, doctors at Women’s Care, including OB/GYN Dr. Keith Balderston, opted to perform intra-uterine transfusion, a delicate procedure during which the doctor transfuses donated blood through the mother’s abdominal wall directly into the umbilical cord.
“It is absolutely critical that we get blood, the purest blood, because we’re giving it to these tiny little fetuses under a pound and they are very fragile,” said Dr. Balderston.
Milo underwent four separate intra-uterine transfusions spaced two to three weeks apart. Each time, his hematocrit levels (percentage of red blood cells in the blood) increased slightly, but eventually fell back down to dangerous levels.
After the fourth transfusion on Nov. 27, 2012, his hematocrit level hit 45 percent and tests indicated that his anemia was gone. Milo’s body was once again creating its own red blood cells. His doctors decided not to schedule a fifth transfusion. Amy returned to Bend, where she was monitored until delivery.
A healthy baby Milo was born Jan. 30, 2013, at 37 weeks. He weighed six pounds, 14 ounces, and was 20 inches long.
Now 10 months old, Milo is a healthy, thriving little boy. He and 5-year-old brother Finn live in Bend where Amy is program coordinator at a charter school and her husband Tim is coordinator of the outdoor leadership program at Central Oregon Community College.
“He’s just a regular guy who crawls around and pulls himself up and plays with his big brother,” Amy said. “We are just incredibly grateful.”
Their happy ending would not have been possible without donated blood. Baby Milo, the Anderson family and all of us at Lane Blood Center extend our gratitude to our selfless and dedicated blood donors for making stories like Milo’s possible.
VIDEO: Amy Anderson and Dr. Keith Balderston tell Milo’s story: