Dec 29, 2009 4:20 AM by Jeannette Hynes
A mom and her newborn son are back home, after they both touched death on Christmas Eve morning at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs.
Tracy Hermanstorfer went into labor nearly two weeks earlier than her due date. She was discussing baby names with her husband, Mike, while she was getting an epidural.
"I was feeling weird, but nothing out of the ordinary," says Tracy.
She says she fell asleep, but what happened was, she stopped breathing and her heart soon after stopped beating.
"Once her heartbeat and breathing stopped, it felt like mine did too," says Mike. "I sat there with my wife's hand in mine, ice cold."
"She was dead. She was dead. She had no heartbeat. No breathing. She was as gray as her sweatsuit," says Dr. Stephanie Martin, D.O., Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine for Memorial Hospital.
Martin specializes in high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. When Martin heard the "Code Blue" announcement over the intercom, she came running. She and the other doctors decided right away to do an emergency Cesarean Section while performing CPR on Tracy.
Registered Nurse Becca Morelli did chest compressions for four or five minutes on Tracy.
"I thought we had lost her," says Morelli. "That night, she was eating dinner."
Coltyn Mikel Hermanstorfer was born at 12:46 p.m., but his heart wasn't beating, and he wasn't breathing either.
"Immediate after delivering him, he was completely limp and unresponsive, but immediately after delivering him, her [Tracy's] pulse came back," says Dr. Martin.
"The first time I held Coltyn, he still wasn't breathing. They actually got him started right in my hands. That is an amazing feeling," says Mike.
Doctors say a heart attack during delivery is rare.
"When it happens, it's almost always catastrophic and life-altering if they survive," says Dr. Martin.
Tracy and Coltyn both checked out of Memorial Hospital Monday afternoon, healthy, and ready to go home to greet two older brothers. Doctors say they don't know exactly why Tracy went into cardiac arrest.
"I'm ready to go home and see them and start my life back over again. Just change things. I got a second chance on life," says Tracy.
"There's only one explanation for having either one of them, let alone both of them here. It's just an absolute miracle," says Mike.