By Dave Andrusko
Up until her 37th week, Louise Bonfield of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England had experienced an uneventful pregnancy. And when her right arm and leg began tingling, she was told by a doctor that it was merely a “trapped nerve.”
But subsequently when her mother, Maggie Bonfield, saw her daughter’s face sag and lose control of her body, she was sure Louise was having a stroke.
When Maggie and her husband arrived with Louise at the hospital
“She had blood coming from her mouth, nose and ears,” Maggie told Julia Sidwell of the Daily Mail. “It was really upsetting to see.”
Alas a CT scan “confirmed their worst fears,” according to Sidwell. “[S]he had a massive bleed on her brain.” Doctors told the family immediate help was required or Louise and her baby, already named Chloe, would die.
Transferred to a more specialized hospital, Louise drifted in and out of consciousness. “But nothing could be done until her water had broken,” Sidwell reported. “Luckily, it wasn’t long before they did and she was rushed into theatre to have an emergency C-section.
With Louise completely unaware, her little girl was delivered.”
The story, already harrowing, became more so. After Chloe was delivered, doctors performed surgery on Louise’s brain.
“It was a nerve-racking time and I sat with Chloe praying Louise would survive to meet her,” Maggie told the Daily Mail.
When Maggie next saw her daughter, she was in a coma. She was told that she would come out of it when she was ready.
‘I took Chloe to see Louise and lay her on her chest,’ Maggie said. ‘I whispered, “This is your mummy”. I was desperate for them to bond.’
And then something just this side of miraculous occurred. “One day, I placed Chloe next to Louise like I always did, and she licked her mother’s cheek,” Maggie told Sidwell. “Suddenly, Louise’s eyes began to flutter. I couldn’t believe it. Chloe had brought her mum out of a coma.”
But, understandably, Louise was confused. She did not recognize anyone, including Chloe.
“Then she pointed to her swollen tummy and I knew she still thought she was pregnant,” Maggie told the Daily News. “ It was heartbreaking.”
There were still major challenges ahead. Louise fell into a second coma.
When she eventually came around, it was not until four months later that she recognized that Chloe was her daughter. She did not leave the hospital for seven months.
Louise started physiotherapy– she could barely stand up at first–and then speech therapy–where she “had to learn the alphabet from scratch.”
Sidwell ended her story with comments from Louise:
Louise’s memory of what happened is patchy, but she knows she’s been through an ordeal.
She said: ‘Looking back, I can’t believe everything I’ve been through. After the stroke, I was left with one-sided weakness, and I couldn’t do anything for myself. It was such a confusing time.
‘I didn’t think Chloe was my baby but Mum persisted, helping us bond. If it wasn’t for her, I really don’t know would have happened.’