Medical Miracle

Gaby - Overland Park, Kansas
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in medical miracles. I am told that it is because of a medical miracle that I am here today. On July 1, 1991, my twin sister, Elizabeth Jane, and I were born over three months before our due date. When we were born, I weighed only 2 pounds while my sister weighed a mere 1.7 pounds. My dad tells me we could easily fit inside the palm of his hand. We were both very sick and with high risk of not making it through the first 24 hours. Unfortunately, Elizabeth, smaller and with many more health problems, died after only twenty minutes after our birth.

The doctors were doing everything medically possible to keep me alive and breathing. In 1991, it was very unlikely for a “28-weeker” to survive. My parents told me that while I was in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), I would forget to breathe which is called bradycardia. Babies born prematurely have a difficult time breathing because their lungs are not fully developed yet and they cannot produce enough surfactant. Surfactant is a substance that allows the lungs to expand properly when an infant makes the change from the womb to breathing air after birth. Just a few months before I was born, researchers created an artificial surfactant for premature babies. Had surfactant not been developed by 1991, I probably would not be here today.

On September 4, 1991, I was finally healthy enough for my parents to take me home from the hospital. I weighed a whopping 5 pounds, which is still much smaller than a healthy, full-term newborn baby. Today, the survival rate of “preemies” or premature infants is a much higher because of major medical advancements or, in my case, miracles. I believe that so many more medical miracles are poised to take place and we cannot give up hope to find cures for many of the illnesses plaguing people today. This is why I believe that a medical miracle truly saved my life.