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A Christmas miracle: mother and baby survive after dying during labor


Photo by: Daquella manera

Christmas Eve 2009 was supposed to be one of the most joyous nights in the lives of the Hermanstorfer family.  Tracy Hermanstorfer was in labor with her third child and her husband Mike was about to be a father for the second time.  Then, inexplicably, something went wrong.  "She literally stopped breathing and her heart stopped," Mike Hermanstorfer explains.

Tracy, who is 33 years old, was being prepped for the birth when she suddenly felt sleepy and decided to lay back in her hospital bed.  Soon afterward, doctors realized that she was in cardiac arrest.   After working feverishly on Tracy with chest compressions and a breathing tube, it appeared as if the worst had happened to the Hermanstorfer family.  "I was holding her hand when I realized she was gone," stated Tracy's husband Mike.

Then the doctors turned their attention on the Hermanstorfer's unborn baby.  The baby boy was delivered via emergency c-section.  The baby, who was unresponsive, was handed over to his father.  "They hand him to me, he's absolutely lifeless," Mike remembers.  The doctors worked on the baby as his father held him and the baby began to breathe.   Within a few minutes, Tracy Hermanstorfer had a pulse.  Dr. Stephanie Martin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the hospital, could not explain why Tracy and her baby lost their vital signs during the birth.  "We did a thorough evaluation and can't find anything that explains why this happened," Martin said.   In Dr. Martin's estimation, Tracy Hermanstorfer was without a heartbeat for 4 minutes.  After being fully revived, mother and baby seem healthy, with no signs of trauma or lasting effects from the ordeal. 

The Hermanstorfers have their own beliefs about what happened on that miraculous Christmas Eve.  Mike feels his family was saved by "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."  said Mike Hermanstorfer.  Even Dr. Martin had little argument against Mike's beliefs about divine intervention.  "Wherever I can get help, I'll take it." she stated.


  • Sakina- Islamic Issues Examiner 5 years ago


    I love how the doctors knew to let the father hold the baby, while they worked on reviving him. The love of the dad helped, I'm so certain.

    Great story, thanks for sharing.