You won’t believe what happened when doctors put this dead woman’s baby on her chest

You won’t believe what happened when doctors put this dead woman’s baby on her chest


Sometimes the bond between two lives is strong enough even to keep death at bay and when that bond is between a mother and her child, death has to accept defeat and return empty handed even when the odds were in Death’s corner.
One such incident happened at the Carolinas HealthCare System Hospital, where a mother who was in a coma after giving birth to her daughter, was saved from a certain death after a nurse suggested an idea which included making her baby cry and being kept near her comatose mother.

Here is the full story.

1 The woman

Shelley Cawley from North Carolina, U.S. was pregnant with her first child and almost lost her life in the process of bringing the baby into this world. Shelly had to be taken to the hospital due to her labor pains and was in the emergency surgery room for a C section in order to deliver her baby.

But due to complications during the surgery and delivering the baby, an underlying condition reared its ugly head and Shelley suffered a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot in her leg rushed into her lungs and she went into coma straight after giving birth.

The woman

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2 Why she went into a coma

What actually happened was that Shelley had a blood clot in her leg, which was kept under pressure due to her pregnancy and the weight she gained due to that pregnancy. The moment doctors delivered the baby, the weight and the pressure were both lifted and the clot travelled to her lungs and filled it with fluids.

Thankfully doctors had Shelley sedated for the surgery and were able to stabilize her, but she went into a coma. ‘Somewhere in those next moments the little bit of fluid in her lungs became a lot and all the doctors I talked to said if she wasn’t already incubated and already put to sleep she would have died,’ her husband Jeremy said.

The doctors tried their best to bring Shelley out of coma and the baby girl Rylan was doing healthy and fine. Shelley was in coma for a week and all hope was diminishing pretty quickly.

Why she went into a coma

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3 The idea that brought her to life

But when all hope was lost and every medical procedure was tried, Nurse Ashley Manus at the Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast came up with a proposal that must have looked like far-fetched to the doctors at the time.

Manus believed in the hospital’s campaign of the notion of mom and baby bonding via skin-to-skin contact. She proposed that Shelly might be able to come around if she heard her baby cry. After some thought, they decided to take the naked baby, and laid her on the bare chest of the mother who was in the coma.

The nurse explains further: “I was hoping that Shelly was still in there somewhere, so she could feel her baby and her heart, to let her mother instincts wake up.”

 The idea that brought her to life

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4 What happened next?

Almost as soon as Rylan was positioned against her mother’s chest, she peacefully fell asleep without making any noise like she knew the lady was her mother. According to Jeremy, he and the nurses had to make Rylan cry with gentle prickles and pinches. After 10 minutes of effort and prodding and pinches, the relaxed baby lost her cool and let out a hearty cry.

Manus said Shelly responded to Rylan’s cry almost immediately. “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.“It’s a complete miracle. There are no other words to describe it.”

Jeremy, choked with emotion, also recalled the moment, “It was the crying that got Shelly going again, got her fighting again. I got my wife back.”

5 The recovery

After a month of recovery in the hospital and her daughter for company, Shelley was finally able to say goodbye to the doctors and nurses of the hospital who brought her back to life and also delivered her baby.

She was welcomed by family and friends and the group said a prayer thanking the lord and the hospital for bringing the mother and daughter safely back to home. Now Rylan is 1 year old and living a healthy and full life.

The recovery

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About the author / 

Jatin Sharma

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