The longest eight minutes for any parent.
It’s the birth story that began as a total nightmare and then turned into an miracle.
After a routine pregnancy, mum Rachael Cherry, 30, from the UK expected a textbook birth with husband Adam Babbage, 30 by her side. However, in the delivery suite things took a turn for the worst. The baby was stuck. Doctors had no choice but to perform an emergency c-section.
Baby Theo was delivered quickly but he was lifeless and had no heartbeat. Rachael and Adam strained to hear their baby’s first cry but instead were met with total silence from him. They immediately knew something was terribly wrong. Rachael told the Mirror:
When you give birth all you want to hear is your baby cry for the first time, but when Theo was born there was nothing. I kept waiting and waiting but there was no screaming or crying, and I knew something must be wrong. I stared around at the shocked looks on the medics’ faces – I kept asking if my baby was ok but no one could answer. I thought my baby had died.
Then I heard doctors counting down from five and I knew they were resuscitating my baby boy. Time passed so slowly, it was unbearable as a parent being in the same room as my dying child.
As doctors and nurses frantically tried to revive him, the worried parents had no choice but to wait. Dad Adam said:
The birth for me was quite an experience. Felt helpless most of the time as wasn’t much I could do to help Rach or Theo, just had to be there for them both. The doctors and midwives were amazing.
It took eight minutes to revive Theo, minutes that seemed like hours. When they managed to restart his heart Rachael and Adam felt immediate relief but then began to wonder what damage had been done.
Rachael says not being able to take him in her arms was hard. She told the Mirror:
Waiting to hear if my baby was ok felt like the longest eight minutes of my life. He then had to be rushed away to be put into intensive care, all I wanted to do but hold him in my arms and comfort him like any mother wants to.
He was having seizures on his first night after he was saved and I thought he wouldn't make it. He was so fragile, even when I picked him up for the first time he still had tubes all over him so I had to be very careful.
It was frustrating not being able to bond with him but no one knew what would happen from one day to the next and whether he'd pull through.
It took a week for baby Theo to cry for the first time and twelve days until he was allowed to go home. Today, Theo is a perfectly healthy six-month old and his parents couldn't be more grateful. Dad Adam told us:
When Theo finally came out we both feared the worst, and are so grateful to everyone at the hospital for what they did to save him that day. Cannot thank them enough, that's why we would like to give something back so hopefully someone else can be as lucky as we were. Now he is 6 months, he is nearly crawling and really enjoying all the new food he keeps trying. Has also really found his voice recently and don't think it will be long before his first word. He is such a happy little guy, always smiling and chuckling away, could not imagine life without him now.
Adam has launched a fundraising drive to purchase another specialist incubator for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It's the incubator that saved Theo's life by cooling him for the first few fragile days, minimising any damage resulting from his birth. They cost $19,800. He wrote on the site:
We are raising money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, at the NNUH, to show our appreciation for all their amazing work with helping our Son Theo.
After a long labour and complications at birth, Baby Theo was finally born. He was delivered by emergency caesarean, and was clearly in a very bad way. He had no heart rate and was pale and floppy. The NICU team finally got Theo’s heart started after 8 minutes and he was immediately incubated and transported to NICU after a frantic 20 minutes. It is here where he received the most amazing care and support over the next 12 days.
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