Incredible moment coma mum wakes at touch of her newborn baby
October 16 2018
A mum has left doctors stunned by waking up from a 23-day coma the moment her newborn son was placed in her arms.
Tears flowed down Brazilian Amanda da Silva’s cheeks and her body instinctively began producing milk as she felt her baby resting on her chest.
Her reaction was all the more incredible because the 28-year-old, who suffers from epilepsy, had no memory of giving birth.
Married mum-of-three and housewife Amanda said: “The first thing I remember was having Victor in my arms, seeing his little head and smelling his lovely scent."
“It was an amazing situation but at the same time confusing.
"I asked my dad if the baby was mine. I put my hand on my belly and realised I was no longer pregnant."
Fabíola Sá, an intensive care (ICU) nurse at Ceara’s Assis Chateubriand Maternity Hospital (MEAC) in Fortaleza, north east Brazil, suggested the idea of putting mother and son together.
Recalling the incident, which took place seven months ago [March] but has only been revealed this month [October 11] she said: "Her response was immediate.
"After 23 days in a coma her reaction was inexplicable.
“We never expected such a quick change and everyone in the medical team wept with happiness and relief.”
The housewife was 37 weeks pregnant when rushed to hospital suffering from an acute seizure, triggered she said by an argument with her husband.
The convulsions threatened her life and the child’s survival as they lowered oxygen to the brain and the womb.
Doctors at MEAC performed an emergency caesarean while she was under sedation.
Complications set in straight after the c-section and physicians were forced to take emergency action, placing her in a medically induced coma to stabilise her condition.
Victor was born weighing 4.6lbs (2.1kg) with a weak immune system and respiratory problems due to the amount of medication his mother had been taking to stabilise her epilepsy during pregnancy.
He was sent straight to neonatal care without any maternal contact where he stayed for six days before going to a semi-intensive care unit.
Amanda was transferred to intensive care where she remained in a deep coma.
The young mum opened her eyes but failed to react to any commands. Doctors called her name, but she didn’t follow any of the signals with her eyes.
Obstetrician Carlos Alencar said: “Just over a week after she was admitted to hospital we began removing the sedatives that kept her asleep, but she didn’t respond as we expected.
“Although all the exams testified that she had a good neurological response, she didn’t move.
“We applied pain stimuli, but she didn’t react. The exams showed brain activity, but the areas of activity weren’t responding to anything specific, not even to the voices of relatives.
"She didn’t move her arms, legs or anything."
The medical team admitted they were running out of ideas and on the verge of sending her to another health facility for long term remedial care when nurse Sá suggested putting mother and son together.
Concerned about the health risks if the baby entered an adult ICU the multidisciplinary team, managing Amanda’s care, consulted a microbiologist on the dangers of placing the newborn with his mother.
But nurse Sá revealed when she did Amanda was motionless and incapable of holding her child, so she took the mother’s arms and wrapped them around her son, helping her to cradle him on her chest.
To everyone’s surprise the moment the baby was placed ‘skin to skin’, the unconscious patient’s heart rate quickened, and she started crying and producing milk.
Nurse Sá said: "The specialist said there was no risk because the mother didn’t have any infections at that time.
“As soon as Amanda felt the touch of the baby's skin on hers, tears started pouring down her cheeks. It was a cry of love.
"More than that it was a cry that said: 'I'm still here, I'm alive, I want to live'”.
Doctors couldn’t let her nurse her baby because of the medications she was on. Even so Victor, who is now eight months old, kept opening his mouth and licking his lips in anticipation.
The improvements continued and slowly Amanda began to respond, moving her limbs and sitting up in bed.
The married mum, who has two older children aged four and two, has suffered from chronic epilepsy and been on strong medications to control the illness since the age of seven.
When she discovered the third pregnancy which she said was unplanned, she was instructed by doctors to stop using one of the remedies because of the risk of foetal abnormality.
Using only one drug meant she suffered more seizures during pregnancy than on previous occasions.
She had a strong epileptic seizure that made her lose consciousness in February this year and was rushed to hospital - waking up nearly a month later not knowing she had given birth.
Twenty days after, mother and son were well enough to be discharged.
The unusual case is being studied by medical professionals to assess the importance of this type of intervention when a post-natal woman is in a serious medical state.
Nurse Sá added: "We don’t have a scientific answer to what happened but it’s evident we should never underestimate the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mother and child."