A premature baby whose heart stopped beating for 17 minutes has beaten the odds to return home to his family after spending months recovering in the hospital.
He had to be resuscitated for 17 minutes before he started breathing and was then rushed to the neonatal ward for emergency health care.
Doctors still didn’t think Isaiah would survive, but miraculously he is now back home and settling into life with his mum and dad, Bethany Homar and Reuben Gordon, and his three siblings.
Little chance of survival
Mum Bethany, aged 28, was told there was a high chance her little boy wouldn’t make it when she was rushed to hospital for an emergency c-section at 26 weeks and three days in April this year.
She had suffered a placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth, and this could be fatal for a baby so it was vital he was born as soon as possible.
Doctors still didn’t think Isaiah would survive and he underwent multiple blood transfusions to keep him alive.
Bethany, a stay-at-home mum, said: “I was given two choices. Let him die inside me while they stopped my bleeding or have him there and then with a high chance that he wouldn’t make it.
“When they told me they had resuscitated him for 17 minutes I couldn’t believe it. They were about to give up and he pulled through. He was very sick and needed lots of transfusions, but he battled on. I can’t believe he is now home and OK. He’s a miracle.”
Faced with an impossible choice
Bethany found out she was expecting her fourth child, and first with her partner, Reuben Gordon, also aged 28, in December 2021.
She said: "We were really excited as I already had three children and two were under two.”
Bethany had a smooth pregnancy until she started getting cramps at 26 weeks and noticed blood in her bath.
"My cramps were just like period pains, so I didn’t think much of it. I just thought I’d have a bath to help with the aches but then I noticed blood and started to panic. I don’t think it completely set in how serious everything was until I rang the hospital."
After calling the doctor she was rushed into hospital, where they realised she was suffering with placental abruption.
Bethany was given two options; doctors could stop the bleeding and let her baby pass away inside her or risk a c-section which didn’t have good odds for his survival.
She said: "I broke down crying when they told me my choices. I knew I couldn’t just let him pass away without trying. I had to give him a chance."
Over 100 days spent in hospital
Isaiah was born with a hole in his heart and an open valve, and doctors will have to continue to monitor his health as he gets older. He also had to stay in an incubator to help his breathing.
Bethany said: “I didn’t know what had happened when I came round. Then they told me he was very sick, and they were not sure if he would survive. He wasn’t born breathing and doctors told me they resuscitated him for 17 minutes and if it had been a few more minutes they would have had to stop. He pulled through at the last second.”
Slowly, Isaiah’s condition improved but doctors warned Bethany and Reuben that he could have brain damage. Brain scans, however, showed just two little bleeds and no sign of brain damage.
After 112 days in hospital the youngster was able to come home on oxygen in August this year.
Smiling and getting stronger
Little Isaiah has been getting stronger ever since he was allowed home, and now weighs almost 8lbs.
Bethany said: "I was so thankful he could come home as I’d felt so guilty splitting my time between hospital and my kids at home. He has chronic lung disease so he’s on oxygen still at home. But it’s very surreal that he’s home.
“For a while it didn’t seem like there was an end in sight. Now he’s 7lbs 13oz and smiling and cooing at us. It’s uncertain how affected he will be until he’s older. But I’m just so glad he’s home.”
Reuben said: "It all happened so quickly after Bethany was taken into hospital. I couldn’t go in with her for the c-section, but I got to see Isaiah just after he was born. He was so tiny, but he did a little yawn that gave me a feeling that he would be OK. But it was really scary, and he was so poorly for a long time. We’re just glad he’s now home."