Things were looking bleak for Shelly Cawley, then 23 of Concord, North Carolina. She hadn’t been conscious since an emergency C-section required general anesthesia. And though baby Rylan’s delivery was a success, Shelly was still comatose. That is, until a wise nurse, Ashley Manus, thought of something so simple yet so brilliant, People reported.
Week-old Rylan was spending most of her time in the hospital on a different floor than her mom. What if, thought Manus, they put Rylan on Shelly’s chest, as they do with other mothers and newborns. “We believe it has great benefits for the mom and the baby, and we just thought it can’t hurt,” she said.
Nurses believed that if Shelly heard Rylan cry, she’d come to. But Rylan was so comfy on her mom’s body, she drifted into dreamland. So they had to make Rylan less comfortable.
“We tickled her, we even pinched her. It took 10 minutes and then she let out a wail,” Shelly’s husband Jeremy told People.
Then, a miracle happened. “We could see a spike in [Shelly’s] vitals on the monitor. We knew that somewhere in there she was hearing her baby. Rylan saved her mom’s life,” Manus said. Jeremy’s also sure Rylan’s crying was what woke up his wife.
Though it took another week for Shelly to fully rouse, the family celebrated a milestone recently: Rylan’s first birthday. Said Shelly, “I just look at [Rylan] now and think of the amazing bond we have. I can tell her when she grows up that she saved my life.”
Check out the moving video below of Shelly and Rylan meeting for the first time.