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A baby born at 26 weeks who didn’t breathe for 17 minutes before he was resuscitated celebrates his first birthday

An extremely premature baby born at just 26 weeks whose heart stopped for 17 minutes has recently celebrated his first birthday.

Baby Isaiah Gordon weighed less than 2lbs when he was born by emergency Caesarean section in April 2022. His mum, Bethany, 29, found out she was pregnant the previous December and everything was going well until, at 26 weeks gestation, she started getting cramps and realised something was wrong when she noticed blood in her bath.

“I don’t think it completely set in how serious everything was until I rang the hospital”, she said. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors realised she was suffering from placental abruption.

They gave her two options: either have an emergency caesarean section which, at this early stage, did not give her baby a good chance of survival, or, they could stop the bleeding and let the baby die.

“I broke down crying – I knew I couldn’t just let him pass away without trying. I had to give him a chance”, Bethany said.

“He wasn’t born breathing and doctors told me they resuscitated him for 17 minutes.”

When she woke up after the Caesarean, Bethany was told that baby Isaiah “was very sick, and they were not sure if he would survive. He wasn’t born breathing and doctors told me they resuscitated him for 17 minutes.”

“If it had been a few more minutes they would have had to stop. He pulled through at the last second.”

Baby Isaiah has a hole in his heart and had two brain bleeds, but doctors were surprised that he was not much worse, and after 112 days in intensive care, he was able to go home with his mum and dad.

He has chronic lung disease but that didn’t stop him from celebrating his first birthday and “piling on the pounds” as his mother said.

She added “At one point it was never ending. I thought he would never leave hospital – it was all so scary. It felt like other babies were progressing and he wasn’t then he just came on in leaps and bounds.”

“Now he has loads of hair and he’s so smiley with chubby cheeks. He’s such a happy baby and so good, I can’t complain at all.”

Survival rates are constantly improving

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine for management of births before 27 weeks, shows that anywhere from 3-22% of babies born at 22 weeks gestation go on to survive.

A study by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “This wonderful story is another example of the incredible medical advances that allow premature babies not just to survive, but to thrive.”

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