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Thursday, 31 December 2009

French holiday "miracle baby" stories

Extra value in this end-of-year piece in that it's a "triple pack" if you will.

Three stories connected to each other only in the sense that they all happened in France over the past week and in each instance involved a baby or a young child.

In two of the cases, the child survived in circumstances that really didn't bode well - to say the very least.

In the third...well it's just an uplifting tale that's surely guaranteed to warm the heart and bring a smile to even the most curmudgeonly reader.

There's sadness in the tale of the first "miracle baby", a 20-month-old girl from the town of Harfleur in northern France.

Just a couple of days before Christmas her 26-year-old mother, who was going through a separation, made her way to the cliffs of the nearby coastal town of Étretat and jumped to her death, her daughter in her arms.

An alert had been raised earlier in the afternoon by the woman's husband who had reportedly 'phoned the emergency services to say that he was concerned about her mental state and the welfare of the child after they had left the family home in nearby Harfleur.

Helicopters were dispatched in the area and two bodies spotted at the foot of the cliffs.

"The mother gave no sign of life, but the girl blinked," Christopher Margrit, a spokesman for the emergency services said.

The girl was rushed to hospital with a head injury and several fractures, her survival attributed to the fact that her body had probably been cushioned by the body of her mother in the 70-metre fall.

On Monday a two-year-old boy also escaped death, this time unscathed, in the ski resort of Arêches-Beaufort in the French Alps.

He was buckled into the child seat as his parents were unloading the car when, in spite of the hand brake being on, the vehicle began sliding backwards.

Although his mother and aunt tried in vain to rescue him, they couldn't reach him in time and the car fell 70 metres into a ravine near where it had been parked, saved from overturning by coming to rest on a tree stump.

When the emergency services arrived on the scene they were able to free the child, who was apparently still ensconced in his seat and emerged without a scratch.

The only injury incurred in the incident was to the aunt who had a fallen into the ravine in her rescue attempt. She was hospitalised with a suspected broken leg.

And finally, as promised, that heart-warming tale, which involves life rather than death in the shape of Tyfène, a 12-year-old girl in the north-west of the country who acted as the midwife in the birth of her sister.

She has become a veritable heroine in France after her exploits on December 26.

When her mother, Stéphanie, went into labour early in the morning the day after Christmas, the father-to-be, Fabrice Raoult, proved to be less than up to the task of handling the situation, and it was Tyfène who took matters in hand.

She dispatched him into the garden "to get some fresh air", rang the emergency services to inform them that the contractions had begun, but was informed there would probably be some delay in their arrival because driving conditions were difficult with black ice covering the roads on the way to the hamlet of Couëdic where the family lived.

The 12-year-old (and it's probably worth repeating that) kept her cool though.

"After a moment of panic, I quickly came to my senses and realised I was the only one who could help," she confidently recounted after the event.

"The baby came out and I washed and placed her on mummy's tummy," she continued rather matter-of-factly in numerous interviews she has given since.

"I didn't dare cut the cord but five minutes later the emergency services arrived to do that," she added.

Just for the record, baby sister Maëlys weighed in at 3,380kg and she, along with mother and older sister are doing just fine.

So is the father apparently, who by all accounts is rightly proud of his 12-year-old step daughter.

1 comment:

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