Monday, 04 Aug, 2008 Current Events

Premature Baby Survived Because Mother Tickled Her Feet


When tiny Emma Young was fighting for survival, the miracle that saved her life was her mother who tickled the bottom of her feet. The baby was born at 25 weeks. She weighted only 1lb 3oz (600 grams). It was quite a torture for parents who continuously watched their baby as she repetitively stopped breathing.

Nurses and Emma's mother Angela Young were amazed to discover that by tickling the soles of the baby's feet jump-started her body and got tiny Emma breathing again. Recently Emma celebrated her first birthday. At her age she has a normal weight and height.

"My daughter is alive thanks to her feet being tickled. It really is a miracle that she is still with us," said Mrs Young, a 29-year-old human resources assistant, living in Washington, Co Durham, together with her husband Andrew, 28.

The pregnancy of Mrs Young had been going well until May 2007, when she began feeling shooting pains. Doctors realized that the woman was in labor.

"They gave her steroid injections into her womb to try to develop the baby's lungs and she gave birth the following day. She was so tiny that she fitted into the palm of Andrew's hand. I just watched her in intensive care, hoping that she would survive, but she was so tiny it seemed impossible. Her head was the size of a plum and her skin was so transparent that I could see all her veins," said Angela Young' mother.

Because Emma was premature her heart had not fused together appropriately. This is why, when she was six weeks old, her heart needed to be corrected through a surgery. Doctors successfully ended the operation. However, shortly after that, the baby had to face another problem that threatened her life. Each day Emma stopped breathing several times a day.

Her mother said: "The first time it happened Emma's face went white and I thought we had lost her. But then the nurses leapt into action and tickled the soles of her feet. Suddenly her little chest started to go up and down again. The nurses told us that because she had been so premature, her body kept forgetting how to breathe."

The baby stopped breathing dozens of times every day for a period of 8 weeks and each time Angela Young tickled her feet, being the size of a postage stamp, Emma's body was stimulated and she began her breathing.

Emma and her parents managed to completely overcome the problem when the baby was 15 weeks old. Mrs Young said: "Now she has a great sense of humor - which must have been all the tickling we did to keep her alive. We still tickle her feet now, but it's just to make her laugh, and there's no better sound in the world for us than her giggling."

Source: DailyMail

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