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Mom Wakes Up after Two Months in a Coma

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Lori Smith's husband Michael couldn't bear the thought of his wife lying in a coma forever, so after doctors told him there was no chance of recovery for his wife, he brought his children to the hospital to say goodbye.


The saga began as routine childbirth. Lori went into the hospital to give birth to the couple's fourth child on New Year's Eve. At 4:19 AM on New Year's Day, she delivered baby Delilah. But then things went terribly wrong. In an interview with Ann Curry on "Today," Michael Smith described that awful day. "First Lori had a headache, then 15 minutes later she started throwing up, and then was totally unresponsive. They couldn't wake her up. They called the Emergency Response Team. They couldn't do anything -- they thought she was dying."

Lori's heart stopped beating twice during a 49-minute period before doctors and nurses managed to get a regular heartbeat again. Then doctors delivered the terrible news to Michael -- Lori's system shut down because blood clots had formed in her brain, liver and kidneys, and that she had also suffered a stroke that went to her brain stem. She was in and out of consciousness, and then finally faded into a coma. Doctors said it was unlikely she would ever recover. "The neurologists said they didn't think there was much hope," Michael said, "and they wanted to know what me and Lori talked about, what we would want to do with Lori, if we'd want her to live in a home the rest of her life that way, or take her off the respirator," he told Curry. Smith had resisted bringing his kids to see their mother while she was in a coma, believing the experience would be "too traumatic," he said.

After finally deciding to say goodbye to his wife, Michael brought the couple's children -- 12-year-old Katie Beth, 8-year-old Megan and 6-year-old Hayden -- to the hospital. Then -- a miracle. 8-year-old Megan, who wasn't ready to say goodbye, told her mother "Mom, if you love us and you hear us, move your eyes." At that moment, Lori moved her eyes. Michael said, "I didn't know if Lori was being mom for the last time or what, but God really gave us a miracle and brought Lori back to us."

Lori, since waking up from her coma, has made steady progress towards recovery. She had to relearn everything -- how to walk, how to use her hands. Now she has difficulty with her left side -- it's much weaker than her right -- and she suffers some eyesight problems.

All that aside, 56 days after first moving her eyes, the doctors sent her home on February 25. "It's not about me; it was God's will," Lori told said of her recovery. "I got here because of all the prayers and help. I could have had the plugs pulled out by the doctors." Lori added that the whole traumatic experience is little more than a blur to her at present. "I don't remember giving birth at all," she told Curry. "I remember going up and signing my name on the paper, and then walking back to deliver her, but that's all I remember. I'm hoping that maybe that memory would come back to me."


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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jill March 3, 2009, 3:42 PM

What a miracle! I would rather read about this then more Bachelor garbage!

Jill (the other one) March 3, 2009, 5:53 PM

What an incredible story!
I’m with Jill. I’d much rather read this sort of story than anything about reality TV.

Carol March 3, 2009, 7:34 PM

I agree with both Jills. Thank you for this wonderful uplifting story. God bless this family.

Masonya March 3, 2009, 11:06 PM

Isn’t this amazing. The power of mothers and the love of their children.

Anonymous March 3, 2009, 11:33 PM

I agree. much better then the stories about octomom and the bachelor

Ebonee March 4, 2009, 11:43 AM

This story brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful!!!

Andrea March 4, 2009, 2:01 PM

Another fine example of how much we do not know about coma and about a mother’s love.

Rhonda March 9, 2009, 6:04 PM

This is an awesome story and to make it more amazing Lori was at Church the Sunday following the Wednesday that she came home.

She is a fighter and it was God’s Will and the help of friends and families prayer and support.

Ghnfnhoi June 30, 2009, 10:53 AM

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claudia April 5, 2010, 2:50 PM

This story really gave me hope, my dad has been in a coma for about 2 months now and the doctors are saying theres a chance he wont survive, and since he lives about 2 hours away I havent seen him, just the idea of seeing him in that state is very traumatic


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