In a world first, a tiny baby named Taylor Gardner has been fitted with a pacemaker bigger than her fragile body.
Born in Australia at just 26 weeks gestation and weighing a little more than a pound, Taylor's heart began to fail in the hours after her birth, forcing surgeons to try something that’s never been done before.
The cardiac team Monash Medical Center wired an external pacemaker to her tiny heart, allowing her to stay alive so she can be fitted with a more conventional pacemaker in the coming months.
Nine hours after her birth on May 25, Taylor's heart rate was getting worse instead of better and she had to be rushed in for a pacemaker.
A complication led Taylor to develop complete heart block in the womb. As a result, her heart beat at between 40-50 beats a minute, rather than 150.
Although only a handful of premature babies in the world had ever been fitted with an external pacemaker — and none less than 1.65 pounds — Dr. Alex Veldman said surgeons had no other choice but to rewrite history.
"It is a bit like flying to the moon — you have to try something that was never attempted before," he said.
Her mom, Rebecca said her daughter is a total miracle.
"It was heart-wrenching, but I wanted her to survive because she is my 11th pregnancy and I only had one child," Gardner said. "She's a fighter and she is feisty. Even though she has such tiny hands, I reckon all the nurses are wrapped around her little finger."
For even the smallest internal pacemaker, Taylor will have to weigh between 3 and 6 pounds. It could take three months before she is big enough to get one and is able to leave the neonatal intensive care unit.