In an interview this morning with ABC News, proud mom Tracey Hermanstorfer of Colorado said, "Oh, we're doing good. I'm ready to show the world." In her lap sat her healthy baby boy, Coltyn Mikel, and next to her, a beaming husband, Mike. It had been quite a different scene in labor and delivery at Colorado Spring's Memorial Hospital six days before. Mike rushed Tracey to the hospital Christmas Eve after she went into labor two weeks before the due date of their third child. She received a local anesthetic, but then he says she went numb, became ice cold, and turned "gray as a ghost." Tracey had suffered cardiac arrest.
Dr. Stephanie Martin, the hospital's director of maternal fetal medicine, described what happened next in an interview with CBS News. "Within about 30 to 45 seconds after my arrival her heart stopped beating. She was dead. She had no heartbeat, no breathing."
When Tracey did not respond to efforts to revive her, Dr. Martin sprang into action to try to save the baby. She performed a Caesarean section immediately, but the baby was limp and lifeless upon delivery. Mike Hermanstorfer thought he had lost both of them. "Half of my family was laying right there in front of me ... dead," he remembers.
It was then the Hermanstorfers got their Christmas miracle. Just after the baby was born, Tracey's heart started beating again. Moments later in his father's arms, Coltyn took his first breath. "That is an amazing feeling, that I got to be there for that first breath, literally," Mike told CBS News. "And it's just an absolute miracle. There is no rhyme or reason that either one of them should be here."
Tracey agrees. "Someone upstairs is looking after me and said it wasn't time for me to be gone. I got a second chance at life," she said.
Martin told ABC News it is extremely rare for both the mother and child to survive such an ordeal. Professionally, she has no explanation how either of them revived, but she said, "From my personal perspective, I'll take help wherever I can get it."
Mike Hermanstorfer says there is only one explanation: "It's just an absolute miracle."
Doctors are mystified. Tracey's heart stopped beating for almost five minutes, and she was not breathing for nearly two minutes. They cannot explain the heart attack, her recovery, or that of the baby. But doctors say both mother and child appear to be healthy. There is no doubt they are happy.