Concord mom says newborn daughter saved her life

Published: Oct. 4, 2014 at 2:49 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2014 at 1:48 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Concord woman says she has her newborn baby, Rylan, to thank for saving her life.

Not long after the birth of her first child, Shelly Cawley's heart rate sky-rocketed, and doctors scrambled. Her husband and mom said when they saw her in that state they thought she wasn't going to make it.

But she did, and almost one month later, she walked out of the rehab center to a team of supporters.

All new moms believe their babies are miracles, but Shelly said Rylan gave her a miracle. "That's what my OB told us," she said, "There's a lot of miracle babies, but I'm her first miracle mom."

On September 5, Shelly had medical complications during her pregnancy. "The emergency c-section was the option. We talked a lot about it, it wasn't... she did not want to do it," said her husband, Jeremy Cawley. "She just didn't think she was going to wake up. And she didn't wake up for seven days."

"Once they took the baby and the placenta and everything out of my stomach, they think that that weight was holding the blood clot back in my leg," Shelly said, "So, it's her opinion that when that weight was lifted the blood clot had nothing stopping it and it went to my lungs, which is a pulmonary embolism."

"Somewhere in those next moments the little bit of fluid in her lungs became a lot and all the doctors I talked to said if she wasn't already incubated and already put to sleep she would have died,"  Jeremy said.

Baby Rylan was healthy, but mom was not. "They don't say the words but we can see it their faces when we get to the room where Shelly is. They all kind of take a break and step away and give us time," Jeremy said.

Shelly wasn't awake to see her family say goodbye or to see her baby on her chest. "Really what we did was, we got Rylan to cry as much as she could, and we prayed together. And you could see the doctors and nurses taking their time to pray as well," Jeremy said, "I know that her vitals were completely backwards her blood pressure was way bottomed out, her heart rate was sky high. They told us since then she knew Rylan was there. And she reacted to Rylan being there. And that reaction helped her fight enough until they could get the other doctors involved from CMC Main."

"I've been told the story - by putting her on my chest and making her cry was what brought me back," Shelly said.

"And it was really one of those moments we just we just knew it was going to change we knew it would," Jeremy said, with tears in his eyes.

Then, there were weeks of intensive care and recovery. Two days before her daughter turned one-month-old, Shelly was discharged from Carolinas Rehabilitation Northeast in Concord.

"I invited a few of our friends," Jeremy said. He said he shared their story on Facebook and created Team Shelly. Over 200 people came wearing her favorite color - purple - and sporting t-shirts that say 'Faith. Courage. Strength.'

"And then love. Love is what it's all about," Jeremy said.

"Thank you for all the love and support," He said in a prayer before the team of supporters. He said love brought her back and will keep them going.

Shelly is still getting her voice back after having her breathing tubes removed. She plans to go home, be a mom and return to nursing school in the Spring.

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