Pregnant woman suffered stroke, rare brain injury, surgery and a coma – but miraculously she and baby survived

A pregnant woman who suffered a stroke, rare brain injury and coma woke up on Christmas Day to miraculously discover she and her baby had survived.

Rhian Burden collapsed on the floor in December in her young son’s bedroom and lay undiscovered for seven hours, Manchester Evening News reports .

The 37-year-old, from Didsbury, Manchester, was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital where she could receive specialist neurovascular and obstetric care.

Doctors said she had suffered a rare brain injury, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a tangle of blood vessels with abnormal connections between arteries and veins, which caused a stroke.

Brain AVMs are rare and said to affect just one per cent of the population, but are even rarer among pregnant women.

The mum collapsed on the floor of her son’s bedroom after having a stroke (Image: Rhian Burden/MEN Media)
Fortunately, doctors said it would be safe for Rhian to continue with her pregnancy and on March 6, her second son Harry was born via caesarean section.

Harry’s amazing survival and birth ‘meant everything’, says Rhian, who is determined to get better to get home to her partner Jay and their boys.

Overwhelmed by the support of family and friends, Rhian has started a blog to share her journey and keep people up to date with her progress.“Christmas Day is the earliest memory I have since the accident,” says Rhian.

“I couldn’t remember anything about what had happened to me before. Slowly, over the New Year I started to become more aware of what had happened.

“I thought a blog would be a good way to record memories for my boys, so when they’re older they will understand why their mummy was away for so long.

”When Rhian first fell ill on December 7, she collapsed in her then two-year-old son Alfie’s bedroom and lay unconscious on the floor for more than seven hours, while Alfie was in his cot.

Her partner Jay started to panic when he noticed Rhian had not been on WhatsApp since the night before and raced home from work to find her.

Luckily baby Harry appears to be thriving (Image: Rhian Burden/MEN Media)
“Luckily my amazing partner realised something was wrong and came home, but it still upsets me to think of Alfie alone in his cot upset for so long,” said Rhian.

Rhian, a finance trainer at Lloyds Bank, was the first pregnant woman to be treated for- and survive – AVM at the Royal Preston Hospital.

But she faces a long and tough rehabilitation journey after her stroke.

The mum-of-two is unable to move her right arm and leg, meaning for now she is now she has to use wheelchair.

“I am still not able to walk properly and I’m having to learn to talk all over again,” says Rhian.

“It’s been a struggle trying to get my words out.

“I’m having to work on the pitch and tone of my voice to sound normal and not like a robot.”

Rhian says being separated from her newborn son and toddler Alfie has been the most painful part of her illness.

“It meant everything to me that my baby survived,” adds Rhian.“It was nice that I had managed to keep him relatively safe.

“We don’t know if there is any long-term impact on Harry until he starts reaching developmental goals.

“I just want to get home as soon as possible to my boys who at the moment are being looked after by their daddy.

“The only way I’ve been able to cope with what’s happen is to not think about it too much.

“I’ve put a kind of bubble around me to deal with it. I know that in order to get better I need to try my hardest not to dwell on it.

“Every day is a new day and every day has the potential for something different. I try the best that I can so I can get home as soon as possible”


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