NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – This is going to be a very special Mother’s Day for one family in Newburgh.
Mom nearly died while she was pregnant, and the technology that saved her life meant she likely would lose the baby. But as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports, she had miraculous results.
Dustin Macchiaroli is a happy, normal 6-month-old boy who, by all accounts, probably shouldn’t be here. His mom, Erin, was just five weeks pregnant when she fainted at home.
“Woke up, I was panting, and I couldn’t get my breathing under control. I thought maybe I was having anxiety,” she said.
But it wasn’t anxiety. It was a pulmonary embolism – a huge blood clot that started in her leg, broke off and lodged in her lungs.
“In her case, it was immediately life-threatening. She came to her local hospital critically ill, unable to support her own blood pressure,” said Dr. Philip Green, of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.
Dr. Green got the call from the upstate hospital and immediately dispatched an ECMO team, short for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, essentially an artificial heart-lung machine.
When his colleague Dr. Peter Liou saw Macchiaroli, he realized she was too unstable to survive the transport to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia. They put her on ECMO immediately.
“(Without ECMO) I don’t think she would have survived,” said Dr. Liou.
Macchiaroli spent seven days on the ECMO machine and she needed a procedure to squirt clot-buster drugs onto the clots in her lungs.
She recovered, but what about her baby?
“One of the greatest gifts I’ve received on my birthday to find out that there was a heartbeat. I couldn’t believe it,” said Dustin’s father, Rob.
Still, Macchiaroli was scared.
“Amazing, incredible and terrifying, because I felt that the pregnancy probably had something to do with my blood clots. I just thought, ‘this thing that almost killed me is now still going to continue for another eight months,” she said.
But eight months later, baby Dustin emerged, perfectly healthy, as was his mom.
It’s a Mother’s Day with added meaning for the Macchiarolis.
“Our miracle baby, but now he’s also a baby, and I’m a mom, and life kind of has to go on,” she said. “I really love being his mom. He’s a gift.”
Macchiaroli still has to take anti-coagulation medicine and still gets a little out of breath once in a while. But doctors say that’s normal.
Now, mom and dad just have regular new-parent things to worry about, like diapers and getting enough sleep.