PARENTS

Mum Whose Heart Stopped Beating Makes Miraculous Recovery When Her Baby Sleeps Beside Her

28/05/2015 13:10 BST | Updated 28/05/2015 13:59 BST

A mum has said her baby son saved her life by literally helping to heal her broken heart.

Holli Cheung, 36, suffered major heart failure after she was struck down by a rare virus called myocarditis. She was put on a life support machine and lay uncommunicative in her hospital bed for 10 days.

But when her husband Jason, 40, placed their sleeping three-month-old son Jordan on the bed next to his mum, her heart started to beat unaided, leaving doctors stunned by her miraculous recovery.

"My baby saved me, there’s no doubt about that," said Cheung.

“I think that for whatever reason he woke up my heart."

holli cheung

“He kept me fighting, he made me stronger and determined to get better and he helped me recover," she added.

“I don’t know whether it was a miracle, but some of the nurses certainly thought it was.

“Other people say it was the strength of a mother’s love, but I know Jordan became my sole reason to get better. I knew I had to take steps, however little they were, to get better."

Cheung, a marketing manger from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, first visited her doctor after fainting on New Year's Day this year.

She was rushed to her local hospital with major heart failure when she lost consciousness for the second time that day.

"I was advised to go home to rest. Just an hour later, as I held my baby on my lap, I passed out and Jordan rolled off my lap on to the floor," said Cheung.

"My husband called the ambulance. The next thing I knew I was surrounded by paramedics along with my husband Jason and was on a stretcher on my way to hospital.

The mum-of-one was taken to two hospitals before eventually being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, but suffered a cardiac arrest when she arrived and five doctors only just managed to revive her by performing CPR for 45 minutes.

"I was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital first, then Oxford University Hospital and one of the doctors there recognised my condition," she said.

"He said he had only ever dealt with one case before but he knew what it was straight away and he had me transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"I thank my lucky stars for that doctor because if it wasn't for him I don't think I would be here now."

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At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Cheung was stabilised and placed on machines to keep her heart beating and lungs functioning.

She was told she had contracted myocarditis, a crippling virus which causes inflammation of the heart and can lead to tiredness, sudden loss of consciousness and heart failure.

“I have little flashbacks and I can remember my family coming in to hold my arms," she said.

“After a few days I woke up and asked for a pen so I could write things down to communicate, as I couldn’t speak.

“It was terrifying. I couldn’t believe this was my life.

"Being away from my son was gut-wrenching. Before I had been there for him 24/7 and I had been breastfeeding him.

“Not being able to pick him up, soothe him, change him or feed him was like a pain I can’t describe.

"While I was on the machines I was pretty out of it on medication but I could still communicate sometimes.

"Jason and the nurses kept telling me I had to fight because I had a son and I was the only one who could save me. I remember thinking I have to survive for my son. He was a huge motivation for me."

Incredibly, after doctors let Cheung's husband take Jordan to see his mum in her hospital room, she made a miracle recovery.

After leaving Jordan sleeping next to Cheung for two hours her heart started beating by itself.

Doctors were stunned by her rapid improvement when they arrived to do their rounds the following morning and were at a loss to explain her recovery.

“I have no idea what happened that night when Jordan slept beside me," said Cheung.

"All I know is that when the doctors and consultants came round on their ward rounds the next day, they were astonished to see my heart beating.

“After that night, slowly but surely, my heart got a little stronger and I started to recover.

"I'm still in recovery. I feel fine but I'm not quite here yet.

"My heart hasn't 100% recovered but I'm on the right path. Doctors have told me they expect me to make a full recovery in six months."

Incredibly, just two weeks after her miraculous recovery, Cheung's heart was strong enough to function by itself and she was taken off the machines, much to the relief of her husband-of-two-years Jason, who works as a product engineer.

holli cheung

Just three months after her brush with death Cheung is back home with her family and is even preparing to take part in a sponsored run to raise money for the hospital charity, as a thank you to staff who saved her life.

Justine Davy, head of fundraising at QEHB Charity, said: “Holli’s story is inspirational and it is fantastic to hear that she and baby Jordan are happy and healthy, enjoying each other’s company again.

"We are thrilled Holli has decided to raise money for QEHB Charity, which will be used to improve facilities and services at the hospital’s Critical Care Unit where Holli was treated.

“We wish her, and the hospital staff joining her, the best of luck for the race and we hope they thoroughly enjoy themselves”

The Color Run takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on August 15. To sponsor Holli and her team visit www.justgiving.com/Holli-CheuNg.

Holli Cheung