'Miracle' recovery for life-support mum who gave birth in a coma
This incredible Irish mum has made a 'miracle' recovery after suffering a severe brain haemorrhage while pregnant with her first child.
Mairead O'Dea (32) gave birth to baby Morgan last October while she was on life support in an Intensive Care Unit in hospital in Abu Dhabi where she was living.
Doctors told the English language teacher's family that she had little hope of survival.
But against all odds, Mairead is now back in Ireland and on "the long road to recovery".
Her beautiful little baby Morgan is "thriving".
"It's unbelievable the whole story," one family member said.
"She's extremely lucky. Her doctors over there said it was a miracle that she survived."
Mairead moved to Abu Dhabi five years ago after earning her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
She met Dave Hart, from New Zealand, while working in the Arabic state and the pair fell in love.
The couple got married in April 2014 and were expecting their first child last October 4, 2015.
But just when their married lives were beginning, Mairead was struck with a devastating brain haemorrhage.
The pregnant young woman was rushed to hospital in Abu Dhabi and placed on a life- support machine. Her family were told to prepare for the worst.
But just seven days later, while still in the Intensive Care Unit, Mairead's waters broke and the medics were forced to take urgent action.
Little baby Morgan was born by caesarean section at just 27 weeks. Luckily Morgan thrived and he is the pride and joy of his family.
Both mother and baby were well cared for at separate hospitals for over four months in Abu Dhabi.
However, it was decided that in order for Mairead to get the most suitable care and rehabilitation, it was best for her to travel home.
So on January 14, 2016, the young mum arrived back to Ireland where she received "excellent" care at the stroke unit at University Hospital in Limerick.
Last month Mairead, who is originally from Cratloe in South East Clare, was moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire where she is undergoing an intensive rehabilitation programme.
Baby son Morgan has been discharged from hospital in Abu Dhabi and is making great progress. He remains in the UAE city with his father and paternal grandmother.
A family member explained that Mairead's short-term memory was very poor, her vision is badly impaired and she has not been able to walk yet.
Her sister Siobhan O'Gorman said that it had been "a long road" but they have received incredible support from family and friends.
"We have been told that she will need 24-hour care once she leaves hospital. We are so grateful to anyone who has helped so far with her medical treatment," she said. "We have been overwhelmed with the support."
Mairead's friends and family said they often feel utterly helpless with the situation and have decided to climb Croagh Patrick on June 11 to raise funds for her post-rehab care.
Dozens of people have now signed up to help with the fundraising activities.
"This has all just taken off completely, it's overwhelming," a family member said.
"We would never expect to have had the response that the girls are getting for the climb.
"It's happening on June 11. It's grown legs.
"At the moment Dun Laoghaire (NRH) is public, so it is more for when she comes out of hospital. If modifications have to be made to the house, etc. When she is out of the public system, she is still going to need a lot of rehab and physio.
"That's why they felt that it would be no harm doing something for her."
The event has already garnered a great response online and 300 people have signed up for the trek, including some of the staff at University Hospital Limerick who helped with her care.
It is hoped that everyone taking part in the event will fundraise €100.
Visit https://www.ifundraise.ie/mobile/2369_move-for-mod.html to help fundraise.