Hurricane Katrina 'miracle baby' turns 10

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Exactly 10 years ago, Hurricane Katrina inched toward the Gulf Coast while one very small premature baby clung to life in a New Orleans hospital. (KTRK)

Christian Stewart doesn't like being on camera.

Maybe you, too, would be shy and overwhelmed if you'd been called a miracle since birth.

"I felt like God had a purpose for my son to be here on Earth," said his mother, Daniella Stewert.

Christian was born July 19, 2005.

Three months premature, his heart and lungs didn't work on their own. He was roughly the same weight as a baseball. Christian was fighting for his life when Hurricane Katrina hit.

As the hurricane flooded the hospital, Dr. Juan Gershanik went straight for Christian, the smallest child in the NICU.

"I kept waiting. They kept saying the helicopters were coming since 10 o'clock in the morning," the neonatologist explained. "I was running out of being patient. I said it was now or never."

When the helicopter finally arrived, there was no room inside for an incubator. Gershanik would have to physically pump Christian's lungs with air.

"I made a decision to just go ahead, pick up the baby, and a little bag where I could just push the oxygen," Gershanik said.

Holding tiny Christian in his arms, Gershanik pumped for hours.

"The only way we could figure out that he was alive was by pinching his foot," Dr. Gershanik explained. "I don't need to tell you the great feeling when we saw the lights in Baton Rouge, and we knew we were going to make it."

Four months later, little Christian was finally healthy enough to go home from the hospital. He and his mother moved to Houston, where they now live.

Every year around Christian's birthday, the family returns to New Orleans for a special visit with Gershanik.

"I feel like he's my son's guardian angel because not only was God protecting and looking after my son, Dr. Gershanik was there for him too," Daniella said. "God works in mysterious ways."

Related Topics:
societyhurricane katrinahurricanebabyu.s. & worlddisasterhealthbirthLouisiana
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