#219 Mother’s love revives infant

By Cathryn Wellner / December 18, 2011

Photo by MyJayKay, via morgueFile

Born at 27 weeks, baby Jamie was written off by the doctor. His tiny spark of life could not be fanned into full flame. But in Sydney, Australia, a miracle was about to happen.

Kate and David Ogg wanted to spend time with the tiny boy who would never know sister Emily, the twin who survived. In the video interview below, Kate says:

I’d carried him inside me for only six months, not long enough. I wanted to meet him and to hold him and for him to know us as well. If he was on his way out of the world, we wanted him to know who his parents were and to know that we loved him before he died.

Kate gave the baby what Australians call “kangaroo care”. Kangaroo joeys are born too small to survive outside the pouch. The mother’s warmth holds them safe until they are large enough to thrive in the outside world. So Kate held Jamie next to her skin, cuddling him, stroking him, telling him about the life she and David had dreamed of for the twins.

Kate even had David strip his shirt off so the baby would sense the smell and touch of both parents. They were resigned to Jamie’s death. Occasionally he would move slightly, but the doctor assured them the movements were just reflex actions, not signs of life.

After two hours Jamie’s eyelids fluttered open. The Oggs were thrilled to at least see their baby’s eyes, if only briefly.

Jamie’s movements continued and grew stronger. Kate put breast milk on her finger and held it to Jamie’s lips. The premature infant, too small and weak to live, began to suckle.

In the world of medicine, Jamie could not survive. He was pronounced dead after 20 minutes of failed attempts to start his breathing. In the world of love, however, he thrived.

Jamie was born in August 2010. His story will be forever fresh.

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