Shelly Cawley is living proof there is no instinct quite as powerful as the maternal instinct.
The new mother slipped into a coma after undergoing an emergency C-section. Though doctors intentionally put her under for the procedure, they feared for her life when she still hadn't woken up hours later.
Cawley, who was 23 years old at the time, was transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit, where doctors informed her husband, Jeremy, she may not survive.
The doctors, however, refused to give up on the young mother. Nurse Ashely Manus said the staff believe using the bond between mother and child can be an advantage, and a last-ditch effort to use that bond to revive Cawley was what saved the new mother's life.
We're a big proponent of skin-to-skin [contact]. We believe it has great benefits for the mom and the baby and we just though it can't hurt, might as well give it a try. I was hoping somewhere deep down, Shelly was there and could feel her baby, hear her baby and her mother's instincts would come out and she would realize, 'This is where I need to be.'
After cleaning up baby Rylan, Manus brought her to Cawley and placed the baby on her mother's chest.
Baby Rylan, comforted to be in her mother's arms, immediately fell asleep. Staff then prodded and "pinched" the newborn so she'd cry loud enough for Cawley to hear.
Doctors watched Cawley's vitals rise as her brain registered her baby's cry and fought desperately to respond.
It took a week for Cawley to completely emerge from the coma, but when she did, she was all there and incredibly grateful for the doctors' quick thinking.