Aleppo doctors save baby pulled from injured mother's womb

aleppo war baby elbagir pkg_00003812
aleppo war baby elbagir pkg_00003812


    Woman gives birth after getting struck by a bomb


Woman gives birth after getting struck by a bomb 02:07

Story highlights

  • In war-torn Aleppo, doctors struggle to save a mother and her newborn
  • Extraordinary footage of the birth was shot in July by Waad Al-Kateab

(CNN)Birth is, at the best of times, an intense experience. But birth by emergency cesarean section, after the mother is seriously injured by a bomb in war-torn Aleppo, is something else altogether.

    Mayissa has just been the victim of an airstrike on her way to the hospital in a Syrian city under siege, with just a handful of doctors left.
    Now on a gurney, Mayissa's arm and leg broken, she is in shock as doctors all too familiar with massive injury remove inch-long pieces of shrapnel from her body.
    As doctors pull the baby from her gashed abdomen, dread rushes into the operating room. Her baby is silent; white as the tile.
    "Is his heart beating?" asks a person in the room.
    "No. I'm sorry," a doctor responds.
    When doctors pulled the baby out he wasn't breathing.
    Extraordinary footage of the birth was shot in July by Waad Al-Kateab and obtained by the United Kingdom's ITN/Channel 4 News. CNN obtained the footage from Kateab and the network.
    The baby is splayed on a green plastic sheet. His milky-while umbilical cord, still attached, is blocked with a pair of forceps. Doctors gingerly pump his chest, hoping to start the minutes-old heart.
    They are resolute as they put what looks like a small baster in the child's nose and mouth, hoping to suction out any fluid blocking his breathing.
    A flutter in his umbilical cord is the first sign of life. His heart is working.
    The boy takes his first breath and starts to cry.
    A doctor grips him by the feet and thumps his bottom. To the viewer it seems rough, even violent; but it's clear they know what they're doing.
    Color -- human color -- slowly flows through the baby's body. As he is laid down, life rings out -- a cry. And the doctors can smile.
    His mother, too, has survived.
    Amid unspeakable calamity, a glimmer of hope.