First cud­dle in a coma

Doc­tors say it’s a mir­a­cle I’m still here

Chat - - Inside - By Jude Arm­strong, 40, from New­ton­abbey

Bouncing about the house, I was ex­cited. It was Novem­ber last year, and I was just about to give birth to another son. I was al­ready mum to Con­nor, 6, and Ma­son, 5. But, this time around, I was mas­sive – yet had so much en­ergy. ‘We should in­duce you now,’ doc­tors told me at 39 weeks. They were wor­ried about my size, and didn’t want my baby get­ting any big­ger. I ex­pected the con­trac­tions to take many hours to start af­ter I was in­duced, but they started just two hours later. And they were com­ing thick and fast.

Ly­ing in the hos­pi­tal bed, I sud­denly felt weak.

‘I feel strange…’ I said, lean­ing against my hus­band Nathan, 34, for sup­port. Then I passed out. The next thing I knew, I woke up in hos­pi­tal – all alone.

Pan­ick­ing, I went to call for my hus­band, but the tubes in my throat stopped me.

What had hap­pened? And where was my baby?

The next few hours, I slipped in and out of con­scious­ness.

The blurry faces of my two boys and a wor­ried-look­ing Nathan floated be­fore my eyes.

‘Here’s lit­tle Ro­nan,’ the nurse said to me fi­nally.

I wanted to tell my baby that Mummy was here, but the tubes that were help­ing me to breathe meant I couldn’t speak.

A cou­ple of days later, when I was fully con­scious, I learned the sever­ity of my sit­u­a­tion.

‘I thought that was it,’ said Nathan, a tear trick­ling down his face as he told me how I’d passed out while hav­ing

con­trac­tions, and turned pur­ple. Pan­ick­ing, he’d called for help. The doc­tors had whisked me away, leav­ing my poor hus­band be­side him­self.

‘I didn’t know what to do,’ Nathan told me.

He’d called my fam­ily, who’d come to the hos­pi­tal straight­away – even his Mum, who lived in Canada.

In surgery, Ro­nan had been de­liv­ered safely. At 10b 3oz, he was big – but, thank­fully, he was com­pletely healthy.

But I went into car­diac ar­rest – twice. Doc­tors re­sus­ci­tated me, but my heart stopped a sec­ond time, so I was re­sus­ci­tated twice. Only, once my heart had started beat­ing reg­u­larly again, I’d stared haem­or­rhag­ing. Litres of blood were pour­ing out of my uterus. Doc­tors tried to pump more blood into me, but they just couldn’t stop the bleed­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, they had to perform an emer­gency hys­terec­tomy. As doc­tors came to see Nathan, he’d braced him­self for the worst. ‘They told me you’d suf­fered an am­ni­otic fluid em­bolism,’ Nathan said. This is when fluid or mat­ter from the foe­tus gets into a mum’s blood­stream, trig­ger­ing a cat­a­strophic re­ac­tion. Doc­tors had told Nathan I’d stopped breath­ing for six min­utes, which could’ve left me with long-term brain dam­age. Doc­tors had then put me into a drug-in­duced coma. Ter­ri­fied I wouldn’t make it, Nathan had brought my boys to kiss me good­bye. He’d also brought Ro­nan to lie on me so he could get some skin-to-skin con­tact with his mum. ‘I played you videos of Con­nor and Ma­son singing and play­ing,’ Nathan said, ‘to try to wake you up.’ As my eyes had flut­tered, 48 hours later, doc­tors couldn’t be­lieve I was wak­ing up. Lis­ten­ing to Nathan, I was stunned, hor­ri­fied.

I’d al­most left my beau­ti­ful boys with­out a mummy.

Meet­ing Ro­nan for the first time was in­cred­i­bly emo­tional.

Tears in my eyes, I held him to me. It was in­stant love. We’d been through a lot to­gether al­ready. I still had a long way to go. For the first cou­ple of days, I had to com­mu­ni­cate by writ­ing things down, as I still had the tube in my throat. And I was so weak, I could barely get out up.

Doc­tors brought Ro­nan’s crib into my room.

‘I’ll get him,’ my twin sis­ter Rosie would of­fer when he cried.

My whole fam­ily took it in turns to stay with me. But I had to re­gain my strength, be a proper mum again.

Af­ter a month, I was fi­nally well enough to go home. The boys were ec­static – and Nathan, too.

We were a fam­ily again, at last.

A year on, me and Ro­nan are do­ing well – he’s a happy, bub­bly lit­tle baby.

My heart and brain are still be­ing mon­i­tored, and prob­a­bly will be for life.

I still get emo­tional when I think of how close I came to leav­ing my pre­cious boys with­out a mum.

Doc­tors say my sur­vival was a mir­a­cle.

It’s a mir­a­cle I will al­ways be so, so grate­ful for.

I’d al­most left my beau­ti­ful boys with­out a mummy

I was so big... had to be in­duced early

In­stant love Me and Ro­man had been through so much Cud­dles all round!

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