Mother dies, gives birth, is brought back to life

Alys Francis, ninemsn
10:06am May 25, 2013
May 25, 2013: A US woman has died, given birth while her heart had stopped beating and then been brought back to life by doctors.

A US woman has died, given birth while her heart was not beating and then been brought back to life by doctors to find she is a new mother.

Erica Nigrelli was 36 weeks pregnant and teaching at a high school in Missouri City, Texas in February when she began feeling unwell, KPRC reports.

The 32-year-old walked into a co-worker's classroom, told her she felt "very faint" and suddenly passed out.

Three teachers began performing CPR and Mrs Nigrelli's husband Nathan, who teaches at the same school, rushed into the room and called an ambulance.

"Erica was lying on the floor, she was foaming and making gurgling sounds and just staring up," Mr Nigrelli said.

When Mrs Nigrelli arrived at hospital doctors could not find a pulse and determined her heart had stopped beating.

They delivered the baby by emergency caesarean section before focusing their attention on Mrs Nigrelli.

Amazingly the mother's heart soon began beating again.

She was kept in a medically induced coma for five days before doctors woke her up.

Mrs Nigrelli said the first thing she remembers upon waking was doctors saying: "You have your baby, she is in the hospital."

She saw baby Elayna, born one month early, for the first time three weeks after she was born as she was being cared for in a different hospital.

Doctors diagnosed Mrs Nigrelli with a heart defect called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to thicken, making it difficult for blood to leave the heart.

"It was literally a ticking time bomb, it just happened when I was 36 weeks pregnant," Mrs Nigrelli said.

Mr Nigrelli said nine times out of ten, people die the first time they collapse.

Doctors say Mrs Nigrelli's co-workers, Jennifer Longoria, June Tomlin, and Maxine Reeves, likely saved the mother and baby's lives by performing CPR.

Mother and daughter spent several weeks in intensive care and are both now recovering at home, although Elayna is still on oxygen.

Author: Alys Francis. Approving editor: Nick Pearson.
Sources: KPRC, CNN.

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