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IN People ON 18 Feb, 2016
Carolyn Isbister's newborn daughter, Rachael, had only minutes to live. Her heart was beating only once every 10 seconds, and the doctors had let go of all hope. Miss Isbister did not want to let her daughter die cold, and picked her up and cuddled her gently, knowing this will her the only moment she gets to do so. But then, something miraculous happened...
Rachael weighed only 20oz when she was born. Her heart was beating only once every ten seconds and she was not breathing. The doctors had let go of all hopes of her surviving. Miss Isbister, Rachael's mother, did not want her to die cold. "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," she said.
Almost as if inspired to live by her mother's warm love, the baby's heart began to beat properly. This helped her start taking little breaths on her own too."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," the mother said.
Rachael was born on the 24th week of pregnancy due to a womb infection. Upon birth, Rachael 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."
Rachael's crying suddenly sprung up her chances of making it. She was put on a ventilator, where she continued to make promisingly steady progress."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," said the mother.
Rachel was still not getting enough oxygen to her brain, and the doctors feared brain damage. But scans luckily showed no bad signs. She had to undergo laser operation to save her eyesight which was dwindling due to the lack of oxygen. However, she continued to gain weight and strength and was taken off the ventilator after five weeks.
Four months later, the couple was allowed to take their baby home. She was even weighing 8lb. "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," Miss Isbister said.
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