A MUM feared she and her daughter would not get to celebrate a first Mother’s Day together after BOTH of their hearts failed, The Sun reports. Louiser Chapman, 24, nearly died having Olivia. Her heart stopped for seven minutes, triggering memory loss so severe she had to be reminded she had a daughter.
“We feel very lucky. You’d never know Olivia had been through so much now though. She’s so happy.” Louiser had a normal pregnancy until 30 weeks, when she developed excruciating stomach pains while in the bath at home in Warnham, West Sussex, last October. She called to her son Charlie, three, for help. The youngster saved her life by getting her a phone so she could call an ambulance.
She remembers nothing of the following few weeks. Her partner Oliver Kernahan, 33, a mechanic, said: “I came home as the paramedics arrived and found Charlie at the door. We’re so proud of him.” Louiser was taken to the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, where a scan found her placenta had torn from her womb.
She suffered a serious haemorrhage and lost a litre of blood — a fifth of the amount in her body. Louiser was transferred to Royal Sussex County Hospital for an emergency caesarean but during the op she reacted badly to antibiotics and went into anaphylactic shock. Born ten weeks premature and weighing just 3lb, Olivia was whisked to an incubator as doctors battled to resuscitate her mum.
Louiser’s heart stopped for seven minutes and medics put her into an induced coma for the next ten days to help her body deal with the stress. Olivia’s incubator was positioned close by. When Louiser came round, she had no idea she had given birth. She said: “The last thing I remember is asking Charlie for the phone. I had no idea what was going on when I woke up in hospital.
“Oliver and the doctors had to tell me I’d had a daughter. “It was upsetting. It’s so important for new mums to bond with their babies but I hadn’t even seen her. “The nurses had compiled a birth diary for me explaining when Olivia was born, how much she weighed and what she had eaten while I was in the coma.
“As I had suffered memory loss from the trauma, they had to remind me who had visited each day. I woke up every morning and couldn’t remember what had happened the day before — or that I’d had a baby girl. “I used to get really upset. Looking at my diary helped me piece it together.”
Two weeks later, as she was slowly starting to recover in the baby unit, Louiser was hit by a second blow. Olivia had a hole in her heart. She said: “The doctors were saying they were confident it would close on its own, but it was horrible to hear. You automatically think the worst.”
Three weeks later Olivia had gained enough weight and was feeding so well that doctors said she could go home. But eight days later, she started to suffer cold symptoms and became unresponsive. Fighting back tears, Louiser told us: “I had just fed her then laid her on my chest. “I took her upstairs, pulled her away from my chest and saw she was blue and floppy. It was terrifying. She wasn’t breathing. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do.
“I was in an absolute state. At first I passed her to Oliver but then my training for work kicked in. “I’d been taught CPR and I started giving her rescue breaths. Finally she gave out a cry.” Olivia was taken to hospital with bronchiolitis and pneumonia, which had affected her breathing.
Louiser said: “Everybody thought she was going to die. She stopped breathing several times. There were doctors all around her. They gave her CPR and two blood transfusions. “It was terrifying. We had to go out of the room as they tried to bring her round. When we went back in she was sedated and covered in tubes. It was horrific. Later in intensive care, I thought, ‘How is she going to come back from this?’ I didn’t think she would survive.”
The family stayed by her bedside, even celebrating Christmas in hospital. But six weeks later Olivia had battled back to health and was allowed home with an oxygen tank. Louiser said: “The daily struggles are having to do everything with the oxygen. We haven’t been able to do anything properly as a family yet.
“But we will soon, when she is stronger. Hopefully, as her lungs grow, she won’t need the oxygen. The hole in the heart is healing. “Olivia has overcome so much. I feel like the luckiest mum in the world. It has been a tough few months but she is such a little fighter. I couldn’t be more proud of her — or her brother.
“Without him, neither of us might be here today.”