The parents of a baby girl born prematurely have revealed how she made a remarkable recovery after a zip lock bag helped save her life.
New Zealand mother Rachael Sibley was 24 weeks pregnant when she unexpectedly gave birth to her daughter Bella Torkington on the bathroom floor on the night of July 22, 2017.
As her condition deteriorated, the newborn – who weighed 805 grams at birth – was left clinging onto her life as her father Kyle Torkington frantically performed CPR.
When emergency services arrived at the scene, quick-thinking paramedics placed Bella into a sandwich bag to keep her warm as they rushed her to hospital.
Baby Bella Torkington (pictured) was born prematurely at 24 weeks weighing 805 grams
Parents Rachael Sibley and Kyle Torkington revealed their daughter defied the odds of survival
Before the terrifying ordeal unfolded, Rachael went into labour shortly after experiencing cramps.
‘We had gone to bed and then Rachael’s waters broke. The situation started to become pretty real at this stage,’ Kyle said.
As the father was on the phone to a St John call centre operator, his wife gave birth to their daughter on the bathroom floor.
‘When [Bella] came out she initially made a bit of a squeak, but then all of a sudden she went all blue in the face and just didn’t make any noise,’ Kyle told NZ Stuff.
He was then instructed to resuscitate his daughter before the ambulance arrived.
‘I had to revive Bella. It needed to happen straight away because any delay of oxygen would cause brain damage,’ he said.
‘[But] it was difficult because Bella was only 805 grams. She was incredibly small.’
Astonishingly, Kyle said he had just revised his first aid just three weeks before his baby girl was born prematurely.
‘That had definitely helped,’ he said.
The newborn girl was so tiny, quick-thinking paramedics did everything to keep her warm
And against all odds, little Bella proved to be a fighter after she made a remarkable recovery following five months in the NICU
Paramedics Olivia Burns and Steve Pudney were called to the family home.
‘No words can describe how tiny she was. And the first thing I did was to pick her up and to ascertain whether she was breathing and she was,’ Ms Olivia said.
Mr Pudney said the biggest danger for premature babies is getting cold.
Little Bella was so tiny, they microwaved her father’s sock to cut off and put over her head to keep warm.
‘We’d come up with an idea of a sock, which I got one of the firies to warm up and microwave for me, I cut the toe off it and put it over her head like a hat,’ Mr Pudney said.
The parents revealed how their thriving little girl miraculously defied the odds of survival
The paramedics decided to place Bella – who was only taking six breaths a minute – into a sandwich bag during the transport to hospital to help further insulate her
The paramedics decided to place Bella – who was only taking six breaths a minute – into a sandwich bag during the transport to hospital to help further insulate her.
Ms Burns added: ‘Everything that her parents had done before we got there, is what kept her alive.’
‘She survived, and she was so tiny. She was such a fighter, she obviously really wanted to be here, to see everyone.’
And against all odds, little Bella proved to be a fighter after she made a remarkable recovery following five months in the NICU.
By sharing their story, the couple wanted other families to draw hope from their experiences – and raise awareness about the important of holding a first St John’s first aid certificate
Nine months on, the doting parents relieved the terrifying birth as they revealed how their thriving little girl miraculously defied the odds of survival.
‘You never know what’s around the corner, you don’t know what’s going to happen today, or tomorrow to yourself or your family,’ Kyle said.
By sharing their story, the couple wanted other families to draw hope from their experiences – and raise awareness about the important of holding a first aid certificate.
‘I quickly learned that night that we needed St Johns more than anything. You start to understand how important that is to have around,’ Kyle added.
For New Zealand residents, you can make a donation to the St John’s Heart of Gold annual appeal here.