Erica Nigrelli died, gave birth and was then brought back to life. The Houston high school teacher was 36 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in her school’s hallway and her heart stopped.
Her colleagues at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, started performing CPR and used a defibrillator to try to jump-start her heart. Paramedics transported her to a nearby hospital and performed an emergency caesarean section, but her heart still wasn’t beating, Click 2 Houston reports. Baby Elayna, who technically had a postmortem birth, is now stable and well.
"She's just a baby," Nigrelli said. "A normal baby."
Now 3 months old, Elayna weighs 9 pounds and will be taken off oxygen support soon. Her mother was diagnosed with an undetected heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle walls become abnormally thick. Once doctors delievered Elayna, her mother was revived and given a pacemaker.
"Apparently I told her I feel very faint and I put my head down and I essentially just passed out," Nigrelli, who collapsed in front of a co-worker, told Keye TV.
Both Nigrelli and her daughter spent several weeks in intensive care. Her co-workers have been credited with saving both of their lives.
"I wasn't scared," Jennifer Longoria, the school nurse, told Click 2 Houston. "I knew what I had to do and my team was incredible."
Nigrelli’s husband, Nathan, is also a teacher at the school, so he was two doors down when his wife collapsed, KHOU reports. “My wife is having a seizure. She’s on the floor,” he told the 911 operator. “Oh, my God! She’s pregnant and she’s foaming. Unresponsive.”
Nigrelli’s coworkers jumped in, kicked her husband out of the room, and removed her bra to attach the defibrillator pads. Nathan Nigrelli remains emotional about the day when he feared he lost his pregnant wife.
“Your daughter, your wife -- your whole entire reason for being is on the ground,” he said.
Originally from Montreal, Zoë Mintz joined IBTimes in March 2013. A graduate from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, her writing has...