'Miracle Baby' receives blood transfusions while inside the womb

MIDDLEBURY, Ind. --- A Middlebury mother and her baby are safe and healthy at home thanks to the innovative thinking of a doctor at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Baby Beau was at risk of suffering from a medical complication similar to heart failure because of severe anemia. But after receiving three blood transfusions while still in the womb, he's healthy as can be.

"So, he is the perfect little baby," Crystal Miller said, describing her son Beau. "He's a happy baby. He's beautiful. And, yeah, oh, my gosh, I couldn't be more happy."

Crystal calls her son Beau a miracle baby. Born on January 2, Beau's journey to the outside world got complicated weeks before he was even born. Crystal learned her baby needed to undergo a rare procedure while still inside the womb to survive.

"It honestly is, like a miracle that they can do this, because there's such a like, it's such a small target that they have to hit," Crystal said. "You know, it's a vein in the umbilical cord inside my stomach, you know, that they're having to hit, you know, to get this blood to baby to save his life, you know? So, just her explaining that to us was very emotional."

The blood transfusions started when Crystal was 28 weeks pregnant and continued every two to three weeks until beau was born.

Dr. Hiba Mustafa at Riley helped Crystal and baby Beau through the entire process. She explains that the transfusions were necessary for the baby to survive outside the womb.

"We are helping the baby to continue to survive to a certain gestational age to be safe out of the womb," dr. Mustafa said. "The risks are low risk or breaking the water or going in preterm birth. Back in the day, when this these procedures did not exist, those babies end up basically going in a condition that is similar to heart failure."

It was a scary process for Crystal with a lot on the line. She previously gave birth to her five-year-old daughter with no complications.

"We had no idea what we're getting into, we actually had no idea what she was even talking about, we'd never heard of this being an issue with anybody that we've ever met before," Crystal said. " I guess that feeling of like being told, 'Hey, like your bloodwork actually showed something that we're concerned about.' That was a that was very, I would say, kind of like, gut wrenching, almost, because it's like, Oh, my goodness, like, I can't see this baby growing inside me. I don't know what's going on."

Under Dr. Mustafa's care, delivery was a success and soon, she was able to see the face of the newborn she'd been caring for the last few months.

"That made my day when I got the picture of her with baby Beau," Dr. Mustafa said. "You see those patients very frequently, you scan them. I saw baby Beau by ultrasound multiple times, I did these procedures. So, you will get that connection with those patients."

Baby Beau is still seeing a hematologist to be sure he's not depending on the blood he was transfused in the womb. Otherwise, he's perfectly healthy thanks to the work of the doctors at Riley.

"Just having him in my arms was like, oh my goodness, like, I feel like I just gave birth to a miracle, Crystal said."

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