This is one tough mother: Ines Ramirez is the only woman known to have performed a successful Caesarean-section on herself! The sun had set hours ago. The nearest clinic was 80 km away over rough roads, and her husband, her only assistant during a half-dozen previous births, was drinking at a cantina. She had no phone and neither did the cantina.
So at midnight, after 12 hours of constant pain, the petite, 40-year-old mother of six sat down on a low wooden bench. She took several gulps from a bottle of rubbing alcohol, grabbed a 15-cm knife and began to cut.
By the light of a single dim bulb, Ramirez sawed through skin, fat and muscle before reaching inside her uterus and pulling out her baby boy. She says she cut his umbilical cord with a pair of scissors, then passed out. When she regained consciousness, she wrapped a sweater around her bleeding abdomen and asked her 6-year-old son, Benito, to run for help. Several hours later, the village health assistant, Leon Cruz, and a second health worker found Ramirez alert and lying beside her live baby. Cruz sewed her 17-cm incision up with a regular needle and thread. The two men lifted mother and child onto a thin straw mat, lugged them up horse paths to the town's only road, then drove them to the clinic over two hours away.
That was March 5, 2000. Now Ines Ramirez is recognized internationally as a modern miracle: She is believed to be the only woman known to have performed a successful Caesarean-section on herself.