For most parents, the birth of a first child is a magical moment filled with joy friends and family. The day Shelley Collie gave birth to her baby should have been one of the best days of her life.
Unfortunately, it would wind up being the worst as she and her husband faced a life lifethreatening reality that would tear their world apart. For Shelley and her husband, Jeremy, a baby was not exactly in the plan. Living in Concord, North Carolina, Shelley was working towards becoming a nurse and her husband was a director for the YMCA.
However, life was about to take an unexpected turn when Shelley discovered she was pregnant. Despite not planning the pregnancy, both Shelley and Jeremy were over the moon with excitement.
They immediately began making the proper preparations, such as putting money aside, purchasing supplies and even attending weekly birthing classes. When their child came, they wanted to be 100% ready. Shelley and Jeremy were determined to do a natural birth without the use of medications or unnecessary procedures.
Sadly, their plan was not meant to be. At eight months, Shelley began to experience complications in her pregnancy, which would lead to her developing a blood clot in her leg. Hoping to control the clot, Shelley was put on blood thinners with the hopes it would break up.
However, time was not on the young mother’s side as her water broke ahead of schedule. Realizing the danger, Jeremy rushed his wife to the Carolinas Medical Center.
Despite the stress, both parents were excited to meet their child. Unfortunately, after Shelley was admitted to the hospital, the pregnancy did not progress as it should. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia as well as a liver disease, which can be lifethreatening. On top of that, her blood pressure was through the roof. With Shelley’s life hanging on a thread, the doctors rushed her to the operating room to perform an emergency Csection.
Realizing things were going very wrong, Shelley began to worry not only for the life of her baby, but for herself as well. Shelley revealed to the Washington Post, I was telling the doctors that I was scared I wasn’t going to wake up. Thankfully, Shelley and Jeremy’s daughter Rylan was delivered safely on September 4, 2014, weighing £7. 11oz. Even better, she was completely healthy.
There were no complications whatsoever. Unfortunately for Shelly, things were not looking good. Jeremy was given Rylan to hold while the doctors rushed away with Shelley. At this point, Jeremy didn’t even realize his wife was in trouble. They just told me that Shelley was going to be in recovery and it would be a little bit before she reunited with us.
Sadly, the reality of the situation was quite grim. Fluid had begun to fill her lungs and her blood clot had broken free and moved into her respiratory system, resulting in a fatal pulmonary embolism. As time passed, Shelley’s blood pressure fell dramatically, her heart rate skyrocketed and she was put on a ventilator to breathe. This all resulted in the new mom slipping into a coma. The doctors knew the options were limited and many were afraid she would not survive.
The doctors hoped that the ventilator would help stabilize Shelley’s condition and get her to a place where she could breathe on her own again. Sadly, it didn’t seem to work and the medical team scrambled to come up with new ideas to try.
In a last ditch effort, the medical team decided to try skin on skin contact with Shelley’s daughter Rylan. Placing the baby on Shelley’s chest, she was prompted to cry. The hope was that Shelley would hear her and begin to fight to live.
Unfortunately, no one knew if it would actually work, so a waiting game began with the hopes that she would somehow start to turn around. We didn’t know how she was going to make it and she had had no interaction with her child.
Nurse Ashley Mana said to the Washington post, if that was going to be it for her, we wanted to be able to tell the baby your mom held you. Thankfully, the skin to skin contact with Rylan began to work and doctors noticed a significant change in her vital signs. Refusing to give up on his wife, Jeremy made to Shrew.
Rylan and Shelley spent time together every single day. Shelley finally woke up. She recalls the experience as one that was weird, to say the least. It was a weird feeling like I was between a dream and reality. But I do remember as clear as day looking at her face, how beautiful she was.
I don’t think I knew at the time I had been asleep for a week, but it was my first time meeting my daughter. I was so overwhelmed. It would be only a year later that Shelley would graduate from nursing school and go back to the very place her life was saved to work. She admits that having a near death experience changed her perspective on both work and life.