By Dave Andrusko
Colvina Jolin, a first-time mother, was 23 weeks pregnant and in perfect health when suddenly she felt an ‘intense headache’ while doing housework. The British mom cried out to her husband Matt and then she passed out.
That was November 16, 2014. Doctors soon discovered she had suffered an extraordinary brain hemorrhage.
The odds were heavily stacked against both mother and unborn child. “Her brain bleed was so massive that it pushed the brain sideways against her skull and downwards to towards the top of her spinal cord,” according to the Mirror’s Martyn Hale.
“At one point during her three-month blackout, she had been given just a ten per cent chance of pulling through, while her premature baby , Maia, had to be resuscitated twice.”
But on February 10, Colvina woke up!
“When I came round, I instinctively knew that I had given birth and my baby was all right,” the 28-year-old told the Mirror’s Martyn Hale. “Holding her for the first time was wonderful. To feel her close to me. I was overwhelmed.”
It would be difficult to exaggerate how dicey were Colvina’s and Maia’s chances. When she was rushed to a local hospital, it was obvious she needed specialist care. Colvina was transported to Southampton General, in Portsmouth, where within minutes doctors opened her skull and removed a massive blood clot.
Husband Matt told Hale
The neurosurgeon came out, looked me in the eye and said, ‘We’ve operated on Colvina very quickly but I have never seen anyone survive this’.
“It was the worst moment of my life, the thought of losing them both.”
Although still in a coma, Colvina’s condition stabilized. “But medics did not know if she would hold on to her unborn baby,” Hale wrote.
But Colvina’s mother told Hale that she “noticed her daughter regularly moving her hand as if to rub her bump.”
Then, at 29 weeks, Maia was delivered by C-Section.
It’s “an incredibly rare event: for a woman to deliver a baby in a coma,” said Dr. Andy Eynon. “In my 13 years of doing neuro-intensive care at our hospital there have been just three cases.”
But it was still touch and go for Maia, who weighed just three pounds at birth. She “had to be resuscitated twice and was then put in an incubator to nurse her through her first fragile days, away from her still unconscious mother,” the Mirror reported. ( “Maia was so tiny I could fit her in the palm of my hand,” said Matt Jolin.)
But seven weeks later, Colvina started to show signs of consciousness. According to Hale
Waking further, she tapped her wrist and rocked her arms, signalling to staff that she understood she had given birth and wanted to see her baby.
She said: “I know it sounds stupid but I never remember not having her. It’s as if she was always there, even though I was in a coma when she was born.
“It’s a miracle that we both survived.”
Colvina has not yet recovered her ability to speak perfectly but she has learned to walk again. Rehabilitation consultant Alison Hatfield told Hale that Colvina had “done brilliantly” so far.
“We can tell when a patient is trying and Colvina is driven by wanting to be able to care for Maia herself,” she said. “Her little one is giving her goals.”