'Miracle' baby Justin ready to head home

January 14, 2010 10:08:41 PM PST
The number one wish of any mother-to-be is undoubtedly to have a healthy baby. But as we know, perfect births sometimes don't happen. Medical knowledge can sometimes make up for Mother Nature's mistakes. Medicine helped one miracle baby born last year on Long Island.

The big smile Derly Olivares wears today was not there last spring, when she was in the middle of her second pregnancy.

"A potentially life-threatening problem was detected in baby Justin as he was developing inside his mother," Dr. Dennis Davidson said. "This is a story of total airway blockage developing before birth."

A specialized sonogram detected the blockage in the airway of Derly's fetus. Baby Justin could die or, at best, suffer severe brain damage at birth.

There was also a hole in his heart, oversized lungs and more. Derly's husband was also stunned

"It was shocking," Julian Olivares said. "You don't think it's going to happen to you, one of your kids."

But a medical plan was developed to perform a tracheostomy on the baby during birth, while he was still attached to his mother's placenta and to fix some of the other problems.

It required a team of some three dozen doctors and nurses from different specialties working together.

"In order to prevent maternal anxiety, when she entered the room, we all had to be very quiet," Dr. Davidson said. "We all had a specific role and we needed to focus."

Now, four months later, baby Justin did not care about lack of quiet. With the spectacular surgery a success, the normally-developing baby, who is now breathing normally, soon goes home with mom, dad and brother Jason.

"We're just very happy this baby is here with us today," Julian said. "It's hard to express in this situation how happy we are."

The surgery was also quite risky to the mom, since it was performed midway through the birth when the child was still attached. There was a risk of unstoppable bleeding.

Justin's condition of airway blockage is extremely rare. There are only 50 known cases in this country in the last 20 years.