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Friday, August 27, 2010

Kangaroo care: the cuddle of life

This story brought tears to my eyes and it's not the first time I've heard of this miracle happening.  A preemie baby is literally brought back to life by cuddling naked on his mothers bare breast.

Mum's Miracle Cuddle Brings Baby Back To Life

Kate Ogg gave birth to twins in a hospital in Sydney, Australia.
They were delivered at 27 weeks, weighing just 2lb, and though Mrs Ogg's little girl Emily was healthy, her brother Jamie was not breathing.
After battling to save him for 20 minutes, medical staff told her he had not survived....
"I took my gown off and arranged him on my chest with his head over my arm and just held him.
"He wasn't moving at all and we just started talking to him.
"We told him what his name was and that he had a sister. We told him the things we wanted to do with him throughout his life."
After two hours, he began showing signs of life.
"Jamie occasionally gasped for air, which doctors said was a reflex action," Mrs Ogg explained.
"But then I felt him move as if he were startled, then he started gasping more and more regularly. I gave Jamie some breast milk on my finger, he took it and started regular breathing normally."
"I thought 'Oh my God, what's going on?' A short time later he opened his eyes. It was a miracle.
"Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger. He opened his eyes and moved his head from side to side. The doctor kept shaking his head saying: 'I don't believe it, I don't believe it'."
It is thought that the warmth of Mrs Ogg's body acted like an incubator to keep the baby warm and stimulated....
HERE To read the entire article

The mind boggles when you read stories like this.  A mother instinctively caring for her baby by keeping him skin to skin, even when all hope is lost... and a baby responding to his mothers warmth and touch and voice. Over the years I've read several stories of "Miracle" babies .  Babies who everyone had given up on, who were handed to their mothers to say "Good bye", only to confound the medical professionals by living because of that last cuddle.
Last december there was another miracle story of a tiny micro-preemie weighing a mere 20 oz who's mother also followed her instincts and cuddled her not breathing baby skin to skin. 

Parents Last Good-bye saved their baby

Sometimes a preemie doesn’t need to be hooked up to 10 different machines to be given the chance to survive.

Mrs. Isbister remembers saying:
“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 kick started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own.
“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 sad part is that when the baby was born, doctors took one look at her and said ‘no’.
“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,” her mom remembered. 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.”
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.
After just 5 weeks she was taken off the ventilator and four months she was released home.
 HERE to read the entire article

I wrote an article on Kangaroo Care a few months ago, and  researching for the article was truly amazing.

The Father of modern Kangaroo care is Dr. Nils Bergman. Dr Bergman worked in South Africa, Ciskei and Sweden, before working seven years as Medical Superintendent and District Medical Officer at Manama Mission, Zimbabwe. It was in Zimbabwe that he developed and implemented Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for premature infants right from birth. This resulted in a five-fold improvement in survival of Very Low Birth Weight babies raising the survival rate of these tiny preterm infants from 10% to 50%.

But Kangaroo Care isn't just for preemies. Skin to Skin contact is vitally important for all infants.

"The very best environment for a baby to grow and thrive, is the mother's body," says Dr Nils Bergman, "When placed skin-to-skin on the mother's chest, the baby receives warmth, protection and food, and its brain can develop optimally. Not feeding the baby often enough and leaving it to sleep alone after a feed can result in the baby getting colic", he adds. "The mother's skin is the baby's natural environment, and both physically and emotionally the healthiest place for the baby to be".
Skin to Skin is not just for preemies !!!!  I still enjoy skin to skin time with my youngest son who's now almost 7 months old.  When Kael is upset, overwrought, and thrashing around and crying, I know that the one thing I can do to calm him is to get us skin to skin, chest to chest, heart to heart.  Nothing calms him more than mommy's cuddles!!!