Mom Put into Coma Minutes After Giving Birth Due to Rare Complication: ‘I Remember Telling the Staff, I’m Dying’

The new mom experienced 'shortness of breath and chest pains' before being placed in a medically induced coma

<p>Getty</p> Woman in hospital


Woman in hospital

What should have been a day of joy for one family — quickly turned into the opposite.

Ashley Zinn from Ohio had given birth to a healthy baby boy on Feb. 18. But about 45 minutes after she had given birth, she began experiencing “shortness of breath and chest pains” and was placed in a medically induced coma, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up for the family.

“It was beautiful and then it quickly turned, and became a nightmare,” Ashley’s husband, Alex Zinn, told NBC affiliate WLWT. “About 30 minutes after giving birth, they had to put her to sleep and intubate her.”

“I remember telling the staff, 'I'm dying,' ” Ashley said, per the outlet. “The last thing I remember after that was being hauled away to CT.”

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She was diagnosed with an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), a rare pregnancy complication in which “amniotic fluid, fetal cells, hair, or other debris” enter the “maternal pulmonary circulation, causing cardiovascular collapse” according to the National Library of Medicine.

According to the Connecticut Department of Health, AFE happens about one in every 40,000 baby deliveries.

Alex recalled to WLWT that he was told his wife had to be put on life support “or she's not going to make it tonight.” He also shared that doctors gave her 30 to 50% chance to live.

Related: Mom Is Shocked to Learn Her Daughter Already Gave Birth in Sweet Video: ‘I Thought It Was a Doll’

Dr. Debbie Rohner, Medical Director of the cardiovascular ICU at Bethesda North hospital told the outlet that Ashley had been “within minutes to hours of dying.” Dr. Rohner recalled, “Her lungs failed, her heart failed, her kidney failed, her liver failed, and her blood system failed.”

However, after “multiple surgeries,” Ashley’s body slowly began to recover. Alex said that he had to balance taking care of his wife and newborn, who they have named Parker. Despite Ashley having been in a coma, he said he still made sure their son got some time with his mom.

“We laid him out next to his mommy's side in between arm and chest,” he told WLWT. “He was crying when we set him down, but not five seconds later he knew this was his mom.”

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Ashley eventually woke up from her coma and was moved off life support onto a ventilator. She also got to greet her son — and joked, “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I just went through all this, and he looks just like my husband.’ ”

However, Ashley said there are no regrets for what she had to go through and the recovery process ahead. “I would go through it all over again for him,” she told WLWT. “I wanted to be a mother ever since I was a little girl."

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