A baby from Orem, Utah, is being hailed a miracle after his mother managed to postpone his premature birth by an excruciating 39 days.
Rachel Whitchurch was just 28 weeks pregnant when her water broke, indicating that her body was gearing up to go into labour eleven weeks early.
“We had multiple doctors, nurses, and specialists talk to us and warn us of the risks and problems that we should expect if our baby was born that day or the next,” Rachel tells local news station KLS.
Rachel was faced with two gut-wrenching options: she could deliver her baby, Gideon, then -- almost three months early -- or she could stay bed-ridden in the hospital and try to prolong the pregnancy as long as possible.
“If he had been born at 28 weeks, he would’ve been in the hospital for months and months feeling scared and lonely, being poked by needles, trying to grow and develop his little body into what it needed to be,” Rachel says of her decision to postpone the delivery.
Rachel and her husband, Jeff, have endured three miscarriages in the past five years. Rachel says she was determined to delay the birth because the doctors told her that every day she let her baby grow inside her meant three less days her baby would have to spend in an intensive care unit.
"I was being given the opportunity to sit in a hospital bed so he didn’t have to," says Rachel. “All the pain, loneliness, stress, fear, needles, medicine, etc., was worth it because I could take my child’s place.”
The odds were stacked against her, though. Doctors predicted there was only a five per cent chance that Rachel would be able to prolong the pregnancy for five days after her water broke. Yet remarkably, she hung on for a whopping 39 days to allow her baby to grow.
During those gruelling 39 days, Rachel was given steroids to help her baby's lungs grow, as well as medications to stop the contractions that were encouraging her body to give birth.
Finally, just five weeks short of a full term, doctors determined that she was ready to give birth with minimal health risks to her baby. Gideon was born weighing just three pounds, but has now grown to be a healthy, happy six-month-old boy.
“My doctors called me and our little Gideon both miracles,” says Rachel.
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