The birth of a baby is always a joyous occasion for a family, but this family from North Carolina never expected that a very sad incident would happen on such a joyous day. Last September, Shelly Cawley went into labour and had to undergo an emergency C-section. Shelly recalls lying on the stretcher that would take her to the operating room and crying.
“I was telling the doctors that I was scared that I wasn’t going to wake up from my surgery. Which is kind of eerie to look back on because I was right.”
Though she delivered a healthy baby girl named Rylan, a blood clot broke loose sending Shelly into a coma.
Her husband, Jeremy Cawley, said
“She had a lot of fluid in her lungs, there were having trouble getting oxygen to her brain, they were having trouble with her blood pressure up. And it just seemed as if she was done fighting.”
Everybody lost hope. Jeremy said doctors did all they could.
Then an idea of skin-to-skin contact came from the nursing staff.
Nurse Ashley Manus, who was part of the team, said:
“We’re a big proponent of skin-to-skin [contact]. We believe it has great benefits for the mom and the baby, and we just thought it can’t hurt, might as well give it a try.”
So, the nurse put baby Rylan on Shelly’s chest hoping that somewhere deep down, Shelly was still there and her maternal instincts would help her come out of the coma. Baby Rylan was so at home that she fell asleep on her mother’s chest.
But nurses said that baby needed to cry. So the nurses and Jeremy started to poke and tickle Rylan to make some noises, and eventually she started crying.
A year after the incident, Shelly Cawley with husband Jeremy and daughter Rylan
“We could see a spike in her vitals on the monitor. We knew that somewhere in there she was hearing her baby. Rylan saved her mom’s life.”
A week later, Shelly came out of her coma.
Shelly, who along with her husband has written a book about their journey, said:
“I think it’s pretty amazing. It just amazes me that a baby so little can have such a big impact. They’re pretty much helpless. They can’t do anything, but yet she was able to… Her crying was able to give me something to fight for.”
This year, Shelly celebrated Rylan first birthday and posted a ‘then and now’ picture on Facebook.