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Sophie's story


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Like most new parents, Christina and Robert had a plan in place for the birth of their first child.  After the pregnancy had reached full-term, Christina was scheduled to be induced, and the pair was anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter, Sophie.

That plan changed drastically during the baby’s delivery, when doctors discovered that Sophie had no heartbeat.   

Christina had placental abruption; her placenta had torn and cut off the vital blood supply to her baby.  To try to save Sophie, doctors had to perform an emergency C-section. 

At birth, Sophie had no pulse and was not breathing.

For 18 long minutes, the doctors and nurses at Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital administered CPR to try to revive her.  Then a shot of adrenaline into her umbilical artery got her tiny heart to start beating.

“She has an innate gift of survival to have pulled through.  I have seen cases to this degree since Sophie that ended very sad,” explains James Cook, MD, director of neonatology at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.

“We were expecting her to have to stay in the hospital for at least 2 weeks,” Robert recalls.  “When the time came and they said we could take her home we thought that they were talking to someone else.”

After just seven days, Christina and Robert were able to take Sophie home.  They still had a rough road ahead and needed to help Sophie with physical therapy exercises two days a week until she was 13 months old. 

When Sophie had a neurological exam at 6 months, it revealed no residual damage from her trauma at birth. A follow-up exam that had been scheduled around her first birthday was cancelled because she was doing so well.

Today Sophie is an active second-grade student at Benton Elementary School.  She was in the school’s talent show this past year, where she demonstrated her glow-in-the-dark hula hoop abilities.  She also loves to ride horses and loves taking care of all three of her dogs.

Although Sophie doesn’t remember her birth experience at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Christina does.

“It’s just so amazing and I really take what happened for granted now,” Christina says.  “But when I see Dr. Cook I get very emotional even though it’s been 8 years now.”

Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger provided funds for much of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit equipment that Sophie – and many other children across the region – have benefitted from, including ventilators and medication pumps.

Meet Sophie: 2010 Miracle Kid

For the first 18 minutes of her life, Sophie wasn't breathing and had no pulse. Now nothing can slow her down.