Doctors gave my 20oz baby up for dead … but I saved her life with this cuddle
It was to be the one and only cuddle Carolyn Isbister would have with her tiny, premature daughter.
Rachael had been born minutes before – weighing a mere 20oz – and had only minutes to live. Her heart was beating once every ten seconds and she was not breathing.
As doctors gave up, Miss Isbister lifted her baby out of her hospital blanket and placed her on her chest.
Life-saver: The mother’s hug that kickstarted Rachael’s heart
She said: “I didn’t want her to die being cold. So I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up. Her feet were so cold.
“It was the only cuddle I was going to have with her, so I wanted to remember the moment.” Then something remarkable happened. The warmth of her mother’s skin kickstarted Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own.
Miss Isbister said: “We couldn’t believe it – and neither could the doctors. She let out a tiny cry.
“The doctors came in and said there was still no hope – but I wasn’t letting go of her. We had her blessed by the hospital chaplain, and waited for her to slip away.
“But she still hung on. And then amazingly the pink colour began to return to her cheeks.
“She literally was turning from grey to pink before our eyes, and she began to warm up too.”
Four months later, Rachael was allowed home weighing 8lb – the same as a newborn baby – and she has a healthy appetite.
Miss Isbister, a 36-year- old chemist from West Lothian, said: “Rachael has been such a little fighter – it is a miracle that she is here at all. When she was born the doctors told us that she would die within 20 minutes. But that one precious cuddle saved her life. I’ll never forget it.”
Miss Isbister and her partner David Elliott, 35, an electronics engineer, were thrilled when she became pregnant.
At the 20-week scan at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, doctors told them she was carrying a girl and they decided to name her Rachael.
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But at 24 weeks a womb infection led to premature labour.
Miss Isbister, who also has two children Samuel, 10, and Kirsten, eight, from a previous marriage, said: “We were terrified we were going to lose her. I had suffered three miscarriages before, so we didn’t think there was much hope.” When Rachael was born she was grey and lifeless.
“The doctor just took one look at her and said no,” said Miss Isbister.
“They didn’t even try to help her with her breathing as they said it would just prolong her dying. Everyone just gave up on her.”
Ian Laing, a consultant neonatologist at the hospital, said: “All the signs were that the little one was not going to make it and we took the decision to let mum have a cuddle as it was all we could do.
“Two hours later the wee thing was crying. This is indeed a miracle baby and I have seen nothing like it in my 27 years of practice. I have not the slightest doubt that mother’s love saved her daughter.”
Rachael was moved on to a ventilator where she continued to make steady progress.
Miss Isbister said: “The doctors said that she had proved she was a fighter and that she now deserved some intensive care as there was some hope.
“She had done it all on her own – without any medical intervention or drugs.
“She had clung on to life – and it was all because of that cuddle. It had warmed up her body enough for her to start fighting.” Because Rachel had suffered from a lack of oxygen doctors said there was a high risk of damage to her brain. But a scan showed no evidence of any problems.
As the days passed, Rachael began to gain in strength and put on weight. She had laser treatment to save her sight because the blood vessels had not had a chance to develop properly in the womb. And she also had six blood transfusions.
“We couldn’t believe that she was doing so well,” her mother said.
“Her heart rate and breathing would suddenly sometimes drop without warning, but she just got stronger and stronger.”
After five weeks she was taken off a ventilator and Miss Isbister was able to breastfeed her.
Then, after four months, the couple were allowed to take her home – a day they thought they would never see.
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Miss Isbister said: “She is doing so well. When we finally brought her home, the doctors told us that she was a remarkable little girl.
“And most of all, she just loves her cuddles. She will sleep for hours, just curled into my chest.
“It was that first cuddle which saved her life – and I’m just so glad I trusted my instinct and picked her up when I did.
“Otherwise she wouldn’t be here today.”
*tearssss* a cuddle that save her baby…kasih ibu sangat kuat…dah besar,cumilll! touching betl pepagi ni 🙂
dila, i yg dah baca hundreds time pun still leleh bila baca lagi.. especially bila tengok gambar anak kat dada tu.. so fragile..hu..hu
i am still crying…. huhuhuhuu 😥
.-= Rozy´s last blog post..ThIngS I WiSh 2 dO aFtEr I PoPpEd! =-.
rozy, me tooo
subhanallah..mmg miracle. skrg ni dah membesar sihat dah dia. thanks for sharing kak ros!
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nadiah, as a guide to all
OMG! my tears just wont stop.. tears of happiness.. premature baby camtu pun ibu tak sanggup biarkan mati.. tapi org skg ni, ya allah ape laa nak jadi.. kalau tak nak bagi je laa kat kite ni.. ni tak, dah laa wat dosa, bertambah lagi dosa. subhannallah.. whatever happens above, it’s really a miracle. only god knows. i’m proud of the mother! pengajaran buat kite semua..
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aezi, tu la pasal..hu..hu
Why am I crying? Tears of joy…so touching. Yes, a mom’s love is capable of miracles. I remember the story of a mom who gained superhuman strength to lift a car off her son, who was trapped underneath. I remember the story of a mom who searched underwater for hours for her daughter and saved her from freezing. Now, the power of mom’s love is proven again. Just a cuddle. That’s all it took to save her baby’s life.
Sigh…nak start nangis lagi dah…
.-= Along´s last blog post..Why Not Macam En Rashid? =-.
along, ye..that’s the power of a mom
ala bestnye cerita ni!! keajaiban kuasa tuhan and kasih sayang seorang ibu…
juan, just a cuddle.. sometime kita just accept je apa doctor kata without trying something as simple as a cuddle
kuasa sentuhan seorang ibu…Subhanallah.
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syida, magic moments
thanks for sharing ..meleleh my tears baca citer ni..
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suzi, me also still crying lor
sedihnya baca cerita ni…
kena kuatkan hati kan.. usaha dulu, bukan berputus asa…
.-= sya´s last blog post..saya tak suka cikgu! =-.
sya, jadikan pengajaran for all.. baby premature ni better give more sentuhan kasih sayang.. itu yang mereka perlukan untuk survive
So touching… Subhanallah… Semuanya dgn izin Tuhan kan…
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keajaiban dari pelukan seorang ibukan kak…
minta izin utk konsi cerita ini di blog saya..
izzah, silakan kongsi.
Hi my name is kim i had my baby girls at 23 week and the hopstial told me they no going to save them and they was mite to give me the injects to saved them and they made them die 😡 😥