CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - It was initial panic at an area day care after a 2-month old baby suddenly stopped breathing.
Fortunately, young Melissa is doing fine because of the actions of the day care staff and first responders.
The scare happened last week at the Land of Learning day care in Conway. Two-month-old Melissa's body went limp and her color began to change. The staff immediately called 911 and swung into action, trying to bring the little girl back to life.
"We started breath and chest compressions; that was the scariest thing I'd ever done," said Mary "Mimi" Justice, the center's director.
"When Mary got tired, I would take over. We would swap out and she would pray; she'd take over and I would pray," said fellow center employee Erica Tyler.
For eight minutes, the staff performed infant CPR on baby Melissa.
"I have to say it was by the grace of God and guidance of God, and our training, that it paid off and we had a positive outcome," Justice said.
It didn't always seem that way. According to Justice, by the time Horry County first responders arrived, there was no response from Melissa.
Within seconds, EMS was rushing the baby to the hospital.
"It seemed like it was the longest ride to Conway hospital," Justice said.
Six minutes later, Melissa's condition improved.
"We were told in the ambulance en route to the hospital that she started breathing and when she started breathing, I don't know if anybody could have cried and screamed any louder than we did," Justice said.
For nearly 15 minutes, the child went without oxygen. Miraculously, she suffered no brain damage or any other serious health problems.
Her mother, Angela Hucks, believes it's a miracle. She is also grateful to all those who came to her daughter's aid.
"She wouldn't be here if it weren't for them," Hucks said, crying.
Baby Melissa was transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina, where preliminary tests showed she may have a heart abnormality. She is now wearing a device to monitor her heart rate.
According to Hucks, there is a possibility her daughter has long QT Syndrome, an abnormality in the heart rhythm. Symptoms include fainting.
Hucks said one week after this eye-opening experience, she's blessed to be holding both of her daughters.
"Now, I would rather be at home," she said. "I would rather spend more time with my kids because you never know."
When she's all grown up, Melissa will be very familiar with this story. She'll also have a bond with the ones who saved her life.
"The only thing that I can say is thank you. I owe them everything because she wouldn't be here," Hucks said.