PARENTS of a little girl who lost her six-year fight with a rare genetic disorder are celebrating after the birth of their newborn daughter.
Nick and Lesley Hartland of St. Dials, Cwmbran, said 10-days-old Izzy Ellie Hartland, who was born on August 14 at 11.33pm in the Royal Gwent Hospital, is “a little miracle”.
She is the first child the couple have had together since Amber’s death in 2008.
The couple said Izzy is fit and healthy and free of the genetic disorder which cut short Amber’s life two years ago.
The couple have given her the same middle name as her sister in tribute to the youngster, who died aged six in November 2008 after a battle with Infantile Tay Sachs.
The rare condition prevents fatty molecules breaking down in her body. Amber was not expected to live beyond her third birthday, but a course of experimental medication stabilised her for more than three years.
Given their first child’s genetic condition, the couple – who both carry the gene that can pass on Tay Sachs – were given tests and genetic counselling at hospitals in Cambridge and Bristol during the pregnancy to ensure Izzy did not have the same illness.
The tests gave Izzy the all-clear for the Tay Sachs, but Mrs Hartland fell ill with Strep-B before she went into labour – a bacterial infection which can lead to meningitis.
The infection meant Mrs Hartland needed an emergency Caesarean and Izzy, who was eight days late and also contracted Strep-B, had to be kept under observation for a week.
“We did worry that we’d have to go through it all again. We didn’t sleep for days,” said Mrs Hartland.
But after a lumber puncture and a course of antibiotics, the infection passed and since then Izzy has been 100 per cent healthy.
She has also turned out to be free of the gene that caused Tay Sachs, meaning she will not pass it on when she’s old enough to have children.
Mrs Hartland’s adult daughter from a previous relationship, Toni Gronow, 20, does carry the gene, but she has also been offered the same help and care Mr and Mrs Hartland were given.
Izzy has already visited Amber’s grave in Cwmbran Cemetery, where well-wishers have continued to leave flowers and cards and pay their respects.
“We’d always wanted another child,” said Mr Hartland. “But while we had Amber we felt she needed 100 per cent of our attention.”
“Every day Amber is in our thoughts. We miss her awfully,” said Mr Hartland. “She’s irreplaceable.”
Mrs Hartland added: “I really believe that Amber is looking over Izzy now. She’s her guardian angel.”