Real Life

Real life: I gave birth while I was in a coma

I sat down to my Christmas lunch with no idea of the drama that lay ahead of me.

By As told to Take 5

Danielle Johnson, 24, shares her traumatising true life story;

We were about to tuck into our dinner one night when I turned to my little girl Mia, five.

"You're going to be a big sister," I said.

Her eyes widened and she tilted her head to the side.

"What do you mean, Mummy?" she asked.

"I'm having another bubba," I told her, patting my growing bump.

Beaming, Mia leapt up and threw her arms around me.

"I can't wait to tell everyone at school," she squealed.

This pregnancy had come as a welcome surprise to my partner, Freddie, 23, and me.

At our 20-week scan, when the sonographer asked if we'd like to know the sex of our little one, I nodded enthusiastically.

She studied the fuzzy image on the screen.

"It's a boy," she told us.

Delighted, I rushed out to buy onesies and booties in blue.

As my due date got closer, I started to panic. I'd had a terrible labour with Mia.

This time around, when I was 35 weeks gone, I woke up with a stinking cold.

Christmas was around the corner, but as I traipsed around the shops hunting for presents, I felt wiped out.

We couldn't wait to find out the sex of the baby!
We couldn't wait to find out the sex of the baby!

When I was barely able to move on Christmas Eve, I decided to book an appointment with my doctor.

My mum, Joanne, drove me to the clinic.

"You have a chest infection," the GP told me.

He prescribed me a course of antibiotics and told me to take it easy.

That night, Freddie, Mia and I stayed at Mum's house with my twin sister, Emma.

Mia and I placed a carrot and a mince pie on a plate for Santa and his reindeer.

Then I tucked her into bed.

"You'd better go straight to sleep," I told her. "Father Christmas will be arriving soon."

As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.

The next morning, I didn't feel much better as Mia bounded into the room and bounced up and down on our bed.

"It's Christmas!" she sang.

I dragged myself downstairs and lay on the lounge as I watched her rip open her presents.

I tried to ignore stomach pains, not wanting to ruin Christmas Day for Mia.
I tried to ignore stomach pains, not wanting to ruin Christmas Day for Mia.

Then I started to feel sharp pangs in my stomach.

I tried to ignore them, not wanting to ruin Christmas Day for Mia.

After an hour, I went for a lie down while Freddie went to visit his dad.

The next thing I knew, Mum was calling my name.

"Lunch is ready," she said.

As I sat at the table, I could barely touch the tomato soup Mum placed in front of me.

The pains in my stomach were getting more frequent and intense.

"I think I'm in labour," I whispered to Mum.

She gently ushered me into the living room, so as not to alarm my little girl.

Then she called an ambulance and came with me to hospital while Emma watched Mia.

A nurse checked me over and said: "You're in slow labour."

"But I'm not due for another five weeks," I cried.

Then I asked Mum where Freddie was.

She went off to phone him.

"Umm, I've got some bad news," she said later. "Freddie's had a seizure at his dad's. He's in hospital, too."

My little family - I can't imagine life without them!
My little family - I can't imagine life without them!

Freddie was on a different ward and in a bad way.

"This can't be happening," I said, panicking.

My contractions got worse and I started struggling to breathe so a nurse placed an oxygen mask over my face.

"We're going to have to perform an emergency c-section," a doctor said. "We're going to put you to sleep."

Minutes later, they administered a drug and everything went black.

When I came around, I assumed I'd been out for a few hours.

But the doctor had some alarming news.

"You've been in a coma for 20 days," he calmly explained.

"W-what?" I stammered.

In my confusion, I thought that I'd been kidnapped.

"Why am I in China?" I muttered.

Nothing made sense.

Then I recalled something terrible.

"I've lost the baby, he's dead," I sobbed.

READ THIS NEXT: *My dead wife gave birth to twins

We just wanted Christmas to be a special day for us all.
We just wanted Christmas to be a special day for us all.

Suddenly, Mum rushed to my side.

"No, he's fine, love," she assured me.

I realised Freddie and my brother were in my hospital room, too.

I struggled to believe her.

Then my brother fished out his phone and showed me a photo.

"You gave birth while you were in a coma," Mum said. "He's at home. He's okay."

"Here's your son," he said.

"You're lying," I snapped.

I whacked the phone out of his hand and slapped him.

"The baby's dead!" I raged, convinced he was playing a cruel trick on me.

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"He's not, darling," Mum soothed.

She explained my little boy had been born on Boxing Day.

Doctors discovered I'd had pneumonia so had kept me in a coma.

The infection had caused the fluid in my lungs to harden so they'd called in new drugs from Canada.

"They told us if the drugs didn't work there was nothing else they could do for you," Mum muttered tearily.

She said she'd put Lucas's onesies in my hand so I could smell him.

"Who's Lucas?" I asked in a daze.

"Your son," she answered. "You and Freddie had already chosen that name."

Thankfully Freddie had made a swift recovery from his epileptic fit.

I wouldn't believe what they told me about Lucas.
I wouldn't believe what they told me about Lucas.

Suddenly, I remembered my little girl.

"Is Mia worried about me?" I asked.

"I told Mia that sometimes when mummies have babies they need a long sleep afterwards because it's so tiring," Mum said.

It took a few days to register that I'd missed my son's birth.

He'd been in the world for 20 entire days and I had yet to meet him.

A nurse said I needed to get a bit better before that happened.

"What colour are his eyes, or his hair?" I asked Freddie.

I just couldn't accept he was real.

Five days after I came around, Freddie brought Mia and my baby boy to in to see me.

"He looks so… old," I said.

I was expecting a newborn, but Lucas was almost a month old by then.

It felt like I had someone else's baby.

They lay him on my lap, but I was so weak I couldn't hold him.

Mia with her little brother.
Mia with her little brother.

Eventually, after a week, I was able to go home to recover.

I had to relearn to walk and speak without slurring.

I didn't have the strength to hold Lucas until he was three months old.

I couldn't bath him until he was five months old.

It made it so much harder to bond with him.

But in time, things got better.

Now, Lucas is a cheeky little toddler who's into everything.

I still can't believe there was a time he didn't feel like my flesh and blood.

Now I can't imagine my life without him.

He truly was my little Christmas miracle.

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