Nurse assistant makes miraculous recovery after having a stroke during pregnancy

Published: May. 16, 2019 at 4:49 PM CDT
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A 27-year-old nurse assistant makes a tremendous recovery after having a major stroke during her pregnancy.

She was 31 weeks along, and doctors made a tough decision in an extremely rare case so both her and her daughter could live.

It was a regular day at work in January for Samantha Fuller-Mott, then all of a sudden the soon-to-be mom felt dizzy and collapsed.

"I remember them taking me down to MRI, then I remember feeling nauseous and then they gave me something for that. Then they put me through the MRI, and then after that I could not remember anything," said Fuller-Mott, a nurse assistant at Aurora BayCare.

Sam's brain surgeon, Dr. Gerald Eckardt, says Sam has an increased tendency of blood clotting. It's the underlying reason the stroke happened.

"We got a CT scan of her head and also a CT angiogram to look at the blood vessels, and that demonstrated a blockage of the blood vessels to the right side of her brain," said Dr. Eckardt, a neurosurgeon at Aurora BayCare.

Doctors say it's extremely rare to have this kind of blood clot during pregnancy, with anywhere from only 9 to 34 cases for every 100,000 births.

"With the baby in place you're treating two people inside one body, and that made the treatment of Sam particularly in the post-operative course with blood pressure and seizures much more complicated," said Dr. Eckardt.

With complications after her brain surgery, the medical team said it was best to deliver her baby at 31 weeks with an emergency C-section. It was a tough decision for doctors.

Sam became a stroke patient and a labor and delivery patient all in one day.

"I was very worried about her,” said Fuller-Mott. “I had a daughter before who did not make it, because had pre-eclampsia. I had severe pre-eclampsia with her sister Eliza; she was born at 24, almost 25 weeks, and then we had to take her off of life support.”

"It was determined that it's probably safest to deliver the baby and deal with the complications of an early birth versus try and complicate things with the medication we were giving to mom," said Dr. Eckardt.

When Sam regained consciousness, her bed was taken up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she met her four pound, four ounce daughter, Liley.

In all of this, Sam says she's most thankful to be alive and hopes she's raising awareness for other women to look for stroke symptoms during pregnancy.

“I'm very grateful for my doctors. I mean, they were able to take care of Liley and then they were able to help me, too," said Fuller-Mott.

Sam's recovery continues with therapy.

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