Miracle Sickels, the Survivor of An Abdominal Pregnancy, Lives Up to Her Name
With her blond curls, big blue eyes and sweet smile, Miracle Stacie Sickels is the very picture of a happy, alert 6-year-old. "We think she's perfect," says Miracle's mother, Janet, 35. This may sound like the banal boast of a doting parent, but as Miracle's name implies, Mrs. Sickels has good reason to be proud. Her daughter's birth on April 25, 1979 at Memorial Hospital in Montrose, Colo. was an astonishing event. Miracle is thought to be one of the few children to survive an abdominal pregnancy, the result, in this case, of the fetus breaking through the fallopian tube and lodging inside the mother's abdomen instead of the uterus.
Three months premature, Miracle weighed a mere 39 ounces and was so tiny that she could wear only doll's clothes. Today Miracle stands three feet tall and weighs 35 pounds. She can run, skip and play just like any other 6-year-old, but there are still problems. While growing in her mother's abdomen, Miracle suffered some nerve damage that affected her speech and motor skills. (One therapist diagnosed her as having a mild case of cerebral palsy.) She has trouble writing, coloring, climbing stairs and forming sentences. Yet the specialists who care for Miracle report that she's making steady progress. Says her speech pathologist, Bruce Bennett: "She's an intelligent little girl." She attended Norwood kindergarten last year on a trial basis and is now a regular kindergarten student. "She's not shy," reports one of Miracle's teachers, Janet Glockson. "She's so eager and willing to work. She loves life, and her classmates love her."
Miracle lives with her parents and two older brothers (Donnie, 14, and Jerry, 11) in a yellow-and-white mobile home near Redvale, Colo., at the foot of the snowcapped Lone Cone Mountain. Her father, Jerry, 39, is a construction worker and an avid hunter; the walls of one room of the mobile home are covered with trophies. Her mother works as the head housekeeper at a nearby ski resort. Says Janet: "We're just simple, backwoods people."
Their quiet life was disturbed abruptly with Miracle's birth; this early picture of Miracle being held in the palm of a hand (PEOPLE, May 28, 1979) prompted calls from reporters and well-wishers across the country. Janet is happy now to report that life has become more regular for the family and for Miracle. "That first year she was so tiny that I was always concerned that something would happen to her," says Janet, as her daughter, clutching a Cabbage Patch doll, plays on a swing set in the yard. "Now she's just like any other kid. I see her growing up, getting married, having babies, living a happy life."
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