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TX Woman Gives Birth to Now-Healthy Baby While Dead, Comes Back to Life

Update Date: May 24, 2013 12:37 PM EDT

The term "miracle baby" is used quite frequently, but the birth of Elayna Nigrelli was more miraculous than most. In her case, the now three-month-old was born while her mother was technically dead.

According to CNN, Erica Nigrelli was working as a teacher at a high school in Missouri City, Texas. Just three weeks away from delivery, she entered a colleague's classroom. Suddenly, she felt faint. When she reached out to hold a desk in order to make herself stable again, she passed out.

The Fort Bend Star reports that Ms. Nigrelli's life was saved thanks in part to the quick work of her co-workers. June Tomlin, an athletic trainer and a CPR instructor at the school, heard about the incident. After instantly rushing to the classroom, she started performing chest compressions on Ms. Nigrelli. Teacher Maxine Reeves prepared the electric defibrillator. School nurse Jennifer Longoria monitored the teacher's vital signs.

Her husband, Nathan Nigrelli, also a teacher at the school and two classrooms away when the incident occurred, called 911 so that emergency personnel would arrive. He later said that she was making gurgling noises. On the emergency call, he said, "My wife is pregnant. She's having a seizure! The baby's due in three weeks!"

By the time the paramedics delivered Ms. Nigrelli to the hospital, her heart had stopped beating and was technically dead. They delivered her baby in an emergency Caesarean section - and, miraculously, she was alive.

Then, miraculously, doctors managed to start Ms. Nigrelli's heart once again. They gave her just a five percent chance of surviving the night. Survive she did though. Doctors placed the teacher in a medically induced coma for five days while they diagnosed her with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition, commonly called athlete's heart, causes thickening of the heart muscles that can stop it from beating suddenly and can kill otherwise healthy people out of nowhere. After that first night, doctors inserted a pacemaker to regulate Ms. Nigrelli's heartbeat. In total, she spent two weeks in the intensive care unit, while her daughter Elayna spent 76 days in recovery.

The Nigrellis call their three co-workers their "angels". The Huffington Post reports that the trio was honored this week by the Missouri City fire chief.

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