December 30, 2009 in Nation/World

Mother, child survive perilous birth

Dan Elliott Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Tracy Hermanstorfer kisses her newborn son, Coltyn, Monday, at a hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo.
(Full-size photo)

DENVER – Mike Hermanstorfer was clutching his pregnant wife’s hand in a Colorado hospital on Christmas Eve when she stopped breathing, her life apparently slipping away. Then he cradled his newborn son’s limp body seconds after a medical team delivered the baby by Cesarean section.

Minutes later he saw his son show signs of life in his arms under the feverish attention of doctors, and soon he learned his wife had inexplicably started breathing again.

“My legs went out from underneath me,” Hermanstorfer said Tuesday. “I had everything in the world taken from me, and in an hour and a half I had everything given to me.”

Hermanstorfer’s wife, Tracy, went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing during labor on Thursday, said Dr. Stephanie Martin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, where the Hermanstorfers had gone for the birth of their son.

“She had no signs of life. No heartbeat, no blood pressure, she wasn’t breathing,” said Martin, who had rushed to Hermanstorfer’s room to help. “The baby was, it was basically limp, with a very slow heart rate.”

After their miraculous recovery, both mother and the baby, named Coltyn, appear healthy with no signs of problems, Martin said.

She said she cannot explain the mother’s cardiac arrest or the recovery.

“We did a thorough evaluation and can’t find anything that explains why this happened,” she said.

Mike Hermanstorfer credits “the hand of God.”

“We are both believers … but this right here, even a nonbeliever – you explain to me how this happened. There is no other explanation,” he said.

Asked about divine intervention, Martin said, “Wherever I can get the help, I’ll take it.”

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