Woman Who Gave Birth While in a Coma Now Struggles To Remember She's a Mom

Caitlin Stubbs
GoFundMe

A mom from Queensland, Australia, has given birth while in a coma, after a tragic brain aneurysm nearly left her dead. Caitlin Stubbs was 32 weeks pregnant when she suffered the dangerous brain bleed. After she was rushed to the hospital, doctors worried that Stubbs might not survive and decided to perform an emergency C-section in an attempt to save her unborn baby's life.

  • Stubbs' fiancé, Jonathan Welsh, first knew something was wrong when she woke up one morning and said she wasn't feeling well.

    A GoFundMe page that's since been set up for the family explains that on July 23, Stubbs woke up and complained of a headache.

    "She said the headache was up and down the back of her neck," Welsh told Aussie outlet 9Honey. "Then she started vomiting and I called the ambulance."

    Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time the soon-to-be mom had experienced a brain bleed. According to 9Honey, Stubbs learned last year that she has arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, a condition that causes her veins and arteries to to bleed at a higher than normal rate.

    Welsh explained to the outlet that his fiancée was actually about to begin treatment for her condition before she learned that she was pregnant, but stopped once she discovered the news because she was unable undergo radiation therapy. 

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  • By the time Stubbs reached the hospital, she had already fallen into a coma because of the "catastrophic" brain bleed.

    Once there, doctors made the quick decision to operate, hoping that a C-section would save her unborn daughter's life. 

    Meanwhile, Stubbs' fate hung in the balance. As Welsh waited to learn more, he was told that his fiancée would most likely not make it.

    "They said they didn't think she'd make it through the night, and everything was pretty negative but I knew she would make it," he recalled. 

    The couple, both 25, have been together since they were 18 -- and Welsh held on to every hope he had that the doctors were wrong. So far, he's been right.

    As time passed, Stubbs clung to life, despite her grim prognosis.

    "Then they said she'd be brain dead," he added, "but she's definitely not."

  • The couple's daughter, Quinn, spent the first three weeks of her life in the NICU while her mom fought to stay alive.

    On the family's GoFundMe page, which was created by Caitlin's aunt, Jayne Franke, the new mom's stay in the ICU was described as "the battle of her life."

    "She had to fight numerous infections in her brain and ongoing bleeds in her brain," Franke wrote. "She needed help to breathe. Thankfully from the amazing care of the medical team at the Royal Brisbane she has been making slow but significant progress."

    Welsh told 9Honey that his fiancée has finally regained consciousness, but is still having lasting effects from the ordeal.

     "The biggest thing is her memory," he explained. "Some days it's good and some days it's not so good."

  • Welsh also shared that Stubbs doesn't remember the day they got engaged, which was two months before her accident. 

    And at her worst, she doesn't even remember she has a brand-new baby girl.

    "I bring the baby to the hospital every day and sometimes she whispers to me that she wants Quinn," he said, "and sometimes she asks whose baby it is."

    "Jonathon keeps showing her photos of their engagement but she doesn't remember and sometimes she doesn't recall being pregnant," Franke wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Every day is different."

    On Thursday, Stubbs had her tracheotomy removed, which had made talking difficult. But still, she tried. 

    "I think the first thing she said was to tell her father she loved him, then she asked if she could have a banana," Franke shared.

  • Finally, on Monday, Stubbs was officially discharged from the hospital and allowed to return home.

    Still, she has a long road to recovery ahead of her -- and so does Welsh.

    The new dad has had to make many sacrifices while his soon-to-be wife was being treated, and even went so far as to rent out the home the two shared prior to the accident, so he could move home with his parents to make ends meet.

    "The reality for Caitlin and Jonathon and their baby Quinn is a future filled with uncertainty over a very long recovery," Franke wrote on her GoFundMe page. 

    And that's certainly not an understatement. Stubbs will need extensive rehabilitation, plus future surgeries -- including the removal of the AVM from her brain, her aunt shared. She'll also need intensive physiotherapy and speech therapy to get her back to her new "normal."

    Franke hopes the crowdfunding page can help cover medical costs, necessary treatments, a wheelchair, and home modifications that will help give her better access and maneuver around her home.

    "Caitlin is a gorgeous young woman faced with an incredibly difficult future," the loving aunt said.

    But despite the family's hardship, there is a silver lining to all of this, of course. Caitlin is alive -- and so is her 6-week-old baby girl, Quinn.

    "She smiles whenever I tickle her with my beard," Welsh told 9Honey.

    Franke also shared just how devoted the new dad has been to his new little family. 

    "Jonathon has been amazing," she said. "He was actually sleeping at the hospital every night until Quinn was released to go home."

    In addition to the GoFundMe page, Franke also created the Facebook page Caitlin's Recovery, where she's been documenting the family's experience, and has asked for support from the community.

c-sections