Health

After Mom Dies Giving Birth To Baby, Doctors Notice Something Odd

| by Charles Roberts

A pregnant woman who passed out due to heart failure remarkably came back to life after her baby was delivered (video below).

Erica Nigrelli, a 32-year-old English teacher at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, was 36 weeks pregnant when she collapsed at school, CNN reported.

Nigrelli had allegedly walked into a coworker's classroom when she suddenly felt faint. The woman put both hands on a table to steady herself but fell unconscious.

"I put my head down and I essentially just passed out," she told KPRC.

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Three employees at the school, including the nurse, her assistant and an athletic trainer, immediately sprang into action. 

The school officials performed CPR and used a defibrillator to get her heart beating again.

Students in the classroom ran out, screaming for help. Nathan Nigrelli, Erica's husband, who also taught at the school, heard the uproar and hurried into the room.

By the time the ambulance arrived and transported the woman to the hospital, her heart was no longer beating. Doctors delivered her baby daughter, Elayna, three weeks early via emergency cesarean section in what they believed was a postmortem delivery.

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When they turned back to Erica after delivering her child, however, they saw that her heart had started beating again.

Erica spent several weeks in the intensive-care unit, five days of which she spent in a medically induced coma. Her infant was also treated in an intensive-care unit, but at a different hospital, for two weeks. 

The child was finally taken off oxygen when she was 3 months old and weighed about 9 pounds, according to KPRC.

Doctors said Erica was suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart muscle to thicken and makes it more difficult to pump blood.

"Nine times out of 10, most people die from the initial collapse," Erica told KPRC.  

"It was literally a ticking time bomb; it just happened when I was 36 weeks pregnant.”

The three employees at Elkins High School who helped save Erica's life after she collapsed were honored at a Missouri City council meeting.

"Thankful is not a strong enough word for what they've done for us," Erica said.