STILLBORN baby Charlotte was brought back from the dead and made a miraculous recovery after doctors froze her for three days.
There was nothing routine about Charlotte’s arrival. Two weeks late, Charlotte lost half her blood during birth, lay dead for 23 minutes and only pulled through after doctors placed her in a freezing blanket for 72 hours.
As she was whisked off from Eastbourne District General Hospital to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton, first-time mother and father Laura and Andrew Manton of Baldwin Avenue, held a christening – just in case.
Mrs Manton, who only conceived Charlotte after her second bout of IVF treatment, said, “It was a very, very dark time because we didn’t know if she would make it or if we would see her again. She had tubes coming out of her.
“We just said, ‘God keep her safe’.”
The couple had been trying for a baby since they got married in 2007.
Now, at eight months old, Charlotte is in rude health and there is no evidence of any lasting effects.
“She’s a fighter. She had to fight to begin with and she was going to make it through despite the odds.
“She’s a miracle, she’s just wonderful. We’re incredibly lucky and very grateful for all the amazing care the DGH and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit gave us,” said solicitor Mrs Manton.
When Mrs Manton’s waters broke it became apparent all was not well. Due to an unforeseen medical complication, with every contraction she lost blood and so did Charlotte.
After a crash cesarean section Charlotte emerged, dead, at 1.39pm on June 26.
A specialist doctor was rushed in from a weekend barbecue to help resuscitate the baby girl.
But even after she was revived it was unclear whether Charlotte would survive and, if she did, if she would have permanent brain damage.
She was transferred to a specialist baby unit where she was wrapped in a blanket filled with cold water and her body temperature was allowed to plummet from a normal 37C to a hypothermic 33.5C for three days. Doctors also injected replacement fluids into Charlotte’s shins.
The baby girl was also put on morphine – among a raft of other drugs – to stop her from shivering.
Mr Manton, 38, said, “It sounds pretty grim but if you’ve got nothing to lose you’ll try anything.
“We didn’t know what to expect at that point, if we’re talking about immediate death or brain damage.”
Dr Ryan Watkins, a consultant neonatologist at the unit in Brighton which was involved in the study of the technique, said, “The research has shown it’s effective and we’re now carrying out the procedure on suitable children around once or twice a month.
“The indications are that the technique reduces the risk of disability.”
At the end of January, Charlotte’s parents held a blessing at All Saints’ Church to celebrate her life.