A miracle baby girl who died at birth for eight minutes has stunned medics to make a full recovery – after being FROZEN for three days.
Little Willow Rose was delivered by emergency C-section after her heart-rate dropped during labour, but when she was born it had stopped completely.
Distraught parents Bex, 37, and Martin Forrest, 44, waited to hear their daughter cry as surgeons tried to resuscitate her at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
After eight agonising minutes medics detected a heartbeat and three minutes later it was fully established on April 20 last year.
But Bex and Martin had to look on as 7lb 8oz (3.4kg) Willow was bundled into an incubator and wheeled past them into the High Intensity Neonatal Care Unit.
A specialist team from St Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, then delivered “Cooling Therapy” – a revolutionary treatment that freezes the baby for three days to prevent brain damage.
Astonishingly, 15 months after she was put in the refrigerator suit that cooled her whole body from 37C to 33.5C (98.6F – 92.3F) Willow has made a full recovery.
Full-time mum Bex, who lives with senior project engineer Martin in Ronkswood, Worcester, said: “It was a perfectly healthy, normal nine months up until when I went into labour.
“Even when I went to have a C section it was planned because I just hadn’t been progressing for four days.
“I was so drugged up I didn’t realise, but after 15 minutes it turned into an emergency C section because Willow’s heart-rate suddenly dropped.
“All these people suddenly came rushing in so I was aware something was wrong.
“I knew when they had taken her out of me, I just kept saying: ‘I can’t hear her crying, what’s going on? Why isn’t she crying?’
“Everybody expects to hear their baby cry when they are born and the longer it went on the worse it got.
“It was the worst feeling in the world. Martin was amazing, he was telling me it would all be OK.
“I couldn’t see what was going on. I just saw her getting wheeled past me into ITU – I didn’t even get to hold her.”
The specialist team from Bristol arrived within an hour and after placing Willow in the cooling suit she was taken to St Michael’s Hospital that night.
But there were no beds free and Bex had to stay at Gloucester Hospital until she discharged herself on April 20 to be reunited with her daughter.
She said: “It was agonising. I told Martin to go to Bristol with Willow because even though she didn’t know him yet I felt she needed someone familiar there.
“I hadn’t even held my own baby. So after two days I gave up waiting and just left the hospital myself.
“It was amazing, Martin picked me up and at last I got to be with Willow. Although I couldn’t hold her, I could touch her little hands.
“She didn’t cry for four weeks. Because she had so many tubes and they hurt her throat, she didn’t know how to cry.
“It’s strange, but all we wanted was to hear our baby cry. Now she does plenty of that though.”
Incredibly, after one year Willow is a perfectly healthy baby with no apparent mental or physical difficulties.
Martin said: “The cooling therapy really is amazing.
“Essentially, when the brain is starved of oxygen the damage is like a fire that continues to burn in the head.
“By cooling the whole baby straight away it just stops that happening and prevents any further damage.
“They put her in a little suit connected to a refrigerator unit for three days, and then on the fourth day gradually brought her core temperature back up.
“She has just been amazing in her recovery. We have been told there is still a risk that she could suffer developmental issues, but so far she is perfectly fine.
“Those minutes really were awful. When she was taken away in the incubator her legs were kicking in a cyclical movement and I thought she might have been fitting.
“Now she’s just a perfectly healthy baby.”
Bex completed a 70m zip wire challenge on Sunday (14/8) to raise over £1,000 for charity Cots for Tots.
The organisation funds equipment for premature children and has a home opposite the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital for parents to stay at.