Woman fell into coma, woke up believing she was 13 years old
There are plenty of risks that come with giving birth, but the one that struck Shannon Everett was an extremely rare one. The 22-year-old from Wales was in labor last month when doctors realized she had the misfortune of having an Amniotic Fluid Embolism, which affects one in 20,000 mothers. She and her new baby, Nico, survived, but the mother is now suffering from severe memory loss, as well as sight difficulties and the inability to walk.
Her heart actually stopped while she was giving birth to her son, and the doctors leaped into action. The baby was delivered while she was unconscious, while other medical staff worked on bringing her back from the brink of death. After more than an hour she was stabilized, but had to be put into a medically-induced coma to help her recover for two weeks.
When she woke up, she believed she was a teenager and couldn't remember she is now a mother of two or has a fiance.
"Her last words before she had the cardiac arrest were 'I love you mummy', it was breaking my heart," her mother Nicola said.
"It was horrendous. I turned around and said 'please don’t give up on her. If you do I'll do it myself'. When she woke up she wanted me and was calling and crying for me. It was amazing.
"She kept calling me "mammy" and when we asked her where she lived, she gave us the address for a house we'd lived in when she was 13."
"She had no idea who her fiancé was and didn't believe us when we told her she had two kids. It was like she'd forgotten her whole life and thought she was a teenager again."
After emerging from her coma, it has been a slow process to recovery, as she has to re-learn basic functions due to the damage to her brain. However, things are improving, with the family still believing she can get back to being her old self again.
She first started showing signs of being herself when she started singing along with Like A Prayer as it played on the radio. "After that she started singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow and when she finished," Nicola explained. "She said to me "Mammy, I was over the rainbow."
Her mother is a full-time carer, with her home adapted for wheelchair use for her disabled daughter, Evie, so Shannon is now staying with her as she recovers. Yet the memory loss is making things difficult, especially since there's a new baby in the family.
"Bonding with Nico has been difficult, because she has no memories of being pregnant or giving birth," Nicola said. "Ioan brought in videos of their three-year-old daughter, Mika, which at least helped to jog her memory of her."
Shannon has been with her fiancé for six years and the pair were planning to get married after the baby was born. While they are taking each day as it comes, Nicola claims that "whatever it takes, we will get them down that aisle. That's what family do".
It could take up to three months for the brain to return key functions, she's "having to re-learn everything all over again", but the community has been extremely helpful with their cause. To help support the family, her friend Beckie set up a JustGiving page and has planned various fundraising events.
"The world we live in is so flipping cruel and people you don’t even know are wanting to help. I’m just blown away," Nicola said. Hopefully this situation vastly improves in the coming months and Shannon is returned to her old self.