A mother's photo of her baby's knotted umbilical cord is serving as a powerful warning to other parents. (Warning: The photo below is graphic.)
Scottish blogger Rebecca Meldrum's pregnancy had a number of problems, and following a failed induced labor, Poppy was born by cesarean section on Aug. 5, the Daily Mail reports.
When the baby was born, her umbilical cord was knotted up in what is called a "true knot" cord.
"This knot was in Poppy's cord, a True Knot which apparently is pretty uncommon 1 in 2,000 babies I think the midwife said," Meldrum said on the caption of the photo of the umbilical cord on Instagram.
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The knot forms when the fetus moves through the umbilical cord while still in the uterus. It often happens early in the pregnancy and can be dangerous.
"The umbilical cord carries oxygen and nutrients from the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream," explained Dr. Patrick O'Brien, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. "If the umbilical cord becomes tightly knotted, there will be a reduction in the flow of blood, depriving the baby of oxygen which can lead to permanent brain injury. A problem with the umbilical cord could also cause the baby to be stillborn."
But it's not always so serious.
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"Fortunately, a true knot in the cord is very rare, and even when it happens it is rarely so tight that it will harm the baby," explained O'Brien. "Usually the knot is discovered after the birth of a healthy baby."
Instead of coming home with her mother, Poppy had to stay in the NICU at the hospital where she is being treated. The baby was underweight and needed some help with breathing and regulating her temperature.
"I can honestly say I have never ever been through emotions like I have been through these last few days & I'm sure will continue to go through until we are all home together," said Meldrum.
"I've cried in a way I've never heard myself cry before, loud, ugly & almost primal need for my baby to be with me," she adds. "I've stared into space for hours upon end wishing I was pregnant still, I've gone through every hospital appointment, scan & meeting from the last 6 months trying to work out how this could have ended up differently."
But Meldrum says she is starting to feel better and more hopeful.
"I don't think anything could ever prepare you for not being with your baby after labour & delivery, but today I feel like I've turned a corner," she said after cuddling her newborn. "I'm sure it's the tonic of skin to skin with Poppy but I'm feeling more confident, more ready to face NICU & want to get involved in anyway I can with caring for my baby."