The bond between a mom and her child will always be one of the strongest. That’s the case for this North Carolina woman, who miraculously woke up from a near-fatal coma after hearing her baby’s cry.
First-time mom Shelly Cawley, of Concord, vividly recalled she was lying on the stretcher, crying, while being carried to the operating room for an emergency C-section.
Shelly was afraid she wouldn’t wake up after being put to sleep for the surgery—her fear became a reality.
Though the doctors successfully delivered a healthy baby girl, Rylan, Shelly fell into a near-fatal coma after a blood clot broke loose and hit her lungs.
“She had a lot of fluid in her lungs, they were having trouble getting oxygen to her brain, they were having trouble getting her blood pressure up,” Shelly’s husband, Jeremy Cawley, told USA Today.
Jeremy stood helplessly by Shelly, who had been placed on a ventilator.
After a week, Shelly still hadn’t woken up. At this point, the doctors told Jeremy they had done all they could.
Just when it seemed Shelly had little chance of survival, nurse Ashley Manus had an idea.
“We knew skin to skin contact is very beneficial to an infant, so we thought why not try it for a mom,” Manus explained.
So, giving it one last shot, Jeremy gently placed Rylan onto Shelly’s chest. Instantly, the infant fell asleep.
“I was hoping somewhere deep down, Shelly was still there and could feel her baby, hear her baby and her mother’s instincts would come out and she would realize, ‘This is where I need to be,’” Manus told PEOPLE.
And miraculously, it did.
When Jeremy pinched Rylan, the newborn let out a wail that somehow alerted Shelly and gave her the strength to keep going.
“We could see a spike in her vitals on the monitor,” Manus recalled. “Rylan saved her mom’s life.”
Shelly eventually woke up a week later and was able to hold baby Rylan for the first time.
“It was like being caught between a dream and reality,” Shelly told BuzzFeed News. “I remember staring at Rylan’s face and thinking she is the most beautiful baby in the world.”
Thankfully, the mother suffered no complications, and a year later, she was celebrating Rylan’s first birthday.
“What a difference a year makes! Last year I was fighting for my life, and this year I have a 1-year-old who is thriving,” Shelly wrote on Facebook.
Today, Shelly works as an Emergency Room nurse at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, and Rylan is a sweet little girl who loves singing and dancing.
The bond between mother and daughter is a special one, and this is even more so for Shelly and Rylan after the life-threatening ordeal.
“I’m so excited about the special bond that we share and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to understand it,” Shelly told WBTV.