When 23-year-old Shelly Cawley was put under for an emergency C-section, everyone was overjoyed when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But overjoy turned to worry when Shelly wouldn't wake up, and slipped into a coma. Doctors weren't even sure if she would wake up.
That's when a nurse had an idea.
"We're a big proponent of skin-to-skin [contact]," Ashley Manus, a nurse at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, told People. "We believe it has great benefits for the mom and the baby, and we just thought it can't hurt, might as well give it a try."
So Manus and an ICU nurse stripped the baby down and placed her on her mother's chest, where she promptly fell right asleep — not even making a sound.
"We tickled her, we even pinched her," husband Jeremy said. "It took 10 minutes and then she let out a wail."
And that's when Shelly's vitals spiked.
"It was the crying that got Shelly going again, got her fighting again," he said. "I got my wife back."
It took another week for Shelly to finally come out of her coma and meet her daughter face to face, but that magical moment a week before is what saved her.
Now, a year later, both Shelly and daughter Rylan are perfectly healthy.
"I just look at her now and think of the amazing bond we have," Shelly told People. "I can tell her when she grows up that she saved my life."
Check out the video below to see Shelly's first face-to-face meeting with her daughter.
>> Read more: Coping With My Labor That Didn't Go As Planned