Grand Island, NE -- After suffering a rare hemorrhage before she was even born, a Grand Island toddler is doing well thanks to blood donors.
"It was a Wednesday in February and I quit feeling Ella move," said her mother Nancy Sutherland.
Sutherland said her daughter was far from the active 14-month-old she is today after an emergency C-section last year.
"When she was born she was white as a ghost," she said.
Ella only had a heartbeat. She couldn’t breathe on her own, and with a hemoglobin level 15 below normal, she needed blood.
"Basically she didn't have any blood in her. All of her blood was transfused back into my body and if we wouldn't have had a blood donor and had that available to us Ella would not have survived," said Sutherland.
Doctors told her it was a very rare fetal maternal hemorrhage.
It would be a week before Ella’s parents could hold her, but after two separate blood transfusions she's come a long way.
Now, Sutherland has a message for expecting mothers: don't ignore your body or feel silly for reaching out to your doctor.
"It might not be the same circumstances as myself, but a lot of times there are things that can be prevented if they just listen to their body and I was very lucky that I did," she said.
Now the Sutherlands are cherishing every squirm and shout.
"We sat in the NICU for six weeks and she just laid there connected to machines; and so when she cries or she's upset that does not bother us at all," Sutherland said with a laugh as Ella attempted to escape her lap.
The G.I. teacher said she donated blood before her daughter was born, but this experience just drove home the importance of it.
You can donate at the 13th Annual NTV Blood Drive.
Noon to 6:00 p.m.
YWCA in Grand Island
Evangelical Free Church in Hastings
Evangelical Free Church in Kearney