Real Stories

Medical Miracle as Mum and Newborn Revived after Dying in Labour on Christmas Eve

Christmas Day is one of the rarest days for babies to be born, but it’s also incredibly special. I mean, sharing a birthday with Jesus – that’s pretty exciting!

So when Tracey Hermanstorfer went into labour on Christmas Eve, she was stoked about the prospect of having a Christmas Day baby.

The early stages of labour went off smoothly – Tracy was given an epidural and continued to labour for hours until she grew tired and took a little rest.

‘She was already gone’ 

Around 12:30pm on Christmas Eve, Tracy’s husband Mike grabbed his sleeping wife’s hand and noticed it was incredibly cold to touch. The staff has changed monitors and in the middle of this change, Tracy had stopped breathing.

Mike recalls,

I opened my hand and her arm just fell out of mine. She was already gone.”

Tracy was just 33 years old and completely healthy. She was already a mum to two children, excitedly waiting at home for the birth of their little brother.

No signs of life

The staff was alerted that Tracy’s heart had stopped and they immediately attempted to resuscitate her for cardiac arrest.

One of the doctors on call was Dr. Stephanie Martin, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Memorial Health System in Colorado. When she arrived at Tracey’s side, Tracy was dead.

She explains,

She had no signs of life. No heartbeat, no blood pressure, she wasn’t breathing, she was as gray as her sweatsuit.

Tracy was rushed in for a C-section but, sadly, the baby, a little boy, was stillborn. He was “basically limp” with a “very slow heart rate”, Dr. Martin recalls.

My first thought was that I can’t allow this father to lose both his wife and his child, especially on Christmas Eve.” 

“My entire life just rolled out” 

As Mike shares,

I was waiting to hear a baby cry. I was waiting for it and I never did hear it. My entire life just rolled out. They handed him to me, he was absolutely lifeless.” 

As Mike cradled his stillborn son, the doctors attempted to revive him. Incredibly, he opened his eyes and started to breathe.

When he took his very first breath, he was in my hands. That’s a feeling like no other.”

A second miracle

Just seconds later, the doctors wheeled Tracy out so Mike could say goodbye to his wife.

That’s when Tracy’s heart started to beat again.

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When they rolled her away, took her down to the operating room just to finish up the procedure from doing the C-section … her heart started beating.”

Tracy went four full minutes without a heartbeat or pulse. When she woke up, she had no recollection that anything had happened.

I just felt like I was asleep. I’m like, ‘Holy cow, what is that bad?”

Mike went from watching his wife and his son die, to seeing them both come back to life before him. And on Christmas Eve of all the days!

Of course, the whole situation has baffled the world and to this day there is no clear medical explanation for Tracy and her son, Coltyn’s recoveries, said Dr. Martin.

A Christmas miracle, indeed

A Christmas miracle that Coltyn still tries to use to his advantage today.

You see, this occurred back in 2009. Now Coltyn is a cheeky, healthy and goofy teen who likes to use his “miracle baby” status to get out of things he doesn’t want to do.

He’s like, ‘I’m the miracle baby,’ — he tries to get out of chores with that — ‘but I’m the miracle baby,’ and I look at him, ‘I’m the miracle mom. It’s not working,'” Tracy shares.

Mike adds,

You look at him right now, you’d never know there was ever anything to sit back and remember that day,”

The only reason I do the interviews is because I want people out there that ever have second thoughts or ever have doubts about anything to realize that miracles do happen. Don’t ever give up.”

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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