August 30, 2010
"I thought, 'Oh my God, what's going on?' " Kate Ogg said on the Australian television show, Today Tonight.
The child, named Jamie, was born after only 27 weeks with his twin sister, Emily, at a hospital in Sydney. Her birth went well, but his was a different story. The doctor struggled for 20 minutes to save him before declaring him dead.
"His little arms and legs were just falling down away from his body," Ogg said. "I took my gown off and arranged him on my chest with his head over my arm and just held him."
She and her husband, David, spoke to the child as she continued to embrace him for nearly two hours. During that time, she said, the two-pound infant showed signs of life.
"I told my mum, who was there, that he was still alive. Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger," Ogg said.
Although the doctor - who refused to be interviewed - initially dismissed the baby's movements, when he put the stethoscope to its chest, he was reportedly shocked.
"He said, 'I don't believe it, I don't believe it,' " Ogg said. "It was a miracle."
The happy mother credits the amazing reversal to "kangaroo care."
According to Dr. Pinchi Srinivasan, director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Neonatology at New York Hospital Queens, the procedure consists of positioning a premature baby on its stomach - clad only in a diaper - against a woman's chest and between her breasts with "skin-to-skin contact."
"The care helps the baby maintain body warmth," he told the Daily News. It also "regulates their heart and breathing rate," and is believed to contribute to weight gain and improved sleeping habits.
Fathers can also use "kangaroo care," Dr. Srinivasan noted. The key to the method is skin-to-skin contact, not the gender of the person.
The practice began in less developed nations where access to ventilators and other equipment was more difficult, he said. It was eventually studied in the United States and Europe throughout the 1980s, and has since become a recognized practice in helping preemies.
The doctor felt it was "unlikely" that the Ogg baby was "dead," as the practice of "kangaroo care" would not resuscitate a deceased child. But the technique can and does benefit babies, and is used in many neonatal intensive-care units, including the one at New York Hospital Queens.