When Mike and Tracey Hermanstorfer went to hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Christmas Eve in 2009, they expected the birth of their third baby to be a routine delivery.
But complications struck during labor when Tracey suffered cardiac arrest, KKTV reported.
“She was dead, she had no heartbeat, no breathing,” said Dr. Stephanie Martin, according to KKTV. “She was as gray as her sweatsuit, no signs of life.”
Martin spent several minutes trying to resuscitate Tracey.
“I sat there with my wife's hand in mine, ice cold,” Mike said. “She was completely and totally blue.”
Martin decided to perform an emergency C-section to deliver the baby, but when she brought him out, he was not breathing.
“Half of my family was laying there in front of me, there's no other way to say it, but dead,” Mike said, ABC News reports. “I lost all feeling. Once her heartbeat stopped, I felt like mine did too.”
That was when events took their second surprising turn. Immediately after the baby was born, Tracey’s pulse returned and she began breathing again.
Doctors gave Mike his newborn son to hold, and managed to assist the baby to start breathing, KKTV reports.
“They actually got him started right in my hands," Mike added. "That is an amazing feeling."
It is extremely rare for a young and healthy mother to go into cardiac arrest during labor, according to Martin. She said she had only seen 10 cases in her career, and none of these had resulted in the mother and baby emerging unharmed, she told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Mike gave his opinion on what happened.
“There's only one explanation for having either one of them, let along both of them here,” said Mike, according to ABC. “It's just an absolute miracle.”
The hospital was unsure what caused Tracey to have a heart attack.
She spoke about her recollection of the incident.
“They were getting ready to put a catheter in and I closed my eyes and don’t remember anything after that,” she said.
Tracey required surgery to complete the C-section, but over the following days both mother and baby, named Coltyn, recovered and were able to go home.