A MIRACLE mother feels lucky to be alive after she and her twins were threatened by a rare pregnancy complication.
Angela Cottam nearly died bringing Amelie and Ava into the world, after a suspected fingernail or hair from one of the babies passed into her bloodstream.
Mrs Cottam, a teacher at Sealand Primary School, lost seven pints of blood, needed 22 transfusions and spent hours in a coma, during which her family was told she might not survive.
The babies were not breathing when they were delivered by emergency caesarian five weeks prematurely but miraculously both were resuscitated and their mother woke 12 hours later.
Mrs Cottam, of Meadowcroft, Higher Kinnerton, feels lucky to be alive with her two healthy girls, who are now aged eight months.
“I feel really blessed to have been given this second chance because it could have been so different,” said the 32-year-old, who also has a four-year-old daughter Olivia with husband Peter, 33.
Last May, Mrs Cottam, was admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital suffering from pre-eclampsia – a dangerous condition which causes high blood pressure and swelling during pregnancy.
Doctors prepared to deliver the babies by caesarian section but became concerned about Mrs Cottam’s condition.
“My lips started going blue and I started choking and that’s when my lungs started to collapse,” said Mrs Cottam.
“They rushed me into theatre for an emergency C section and put me in an induced coma.
“My poor husband was left watching doctors and midwives running into theatre.”
Mrs Cottam was suffering from an amniotic fluid embolism, where fluid from the sac surrounding the babies leaks into the mother's bloodstream through blood vessels in the womb.
Cells – such as a fingernail or hair – from the unborn children, travelled to her lungs which began to collapse and she also suffered severe internal bleeding.
Doctors acted fast to save the babies and Amelie was born weighing 4lb 2oz, followed by Ava, at 4lb 10oz.
“Both twins needed resuscitation,” said Mrs Cottam.
“Ava was very touch and go, they had to work on her for three minutes with oxygen before she came round.”
Although the twins survived, their mother took a turn for the worse when her blood stopped clotting.
Doctors battled to stabilise Mrs Cottam for three hours, giving her 22 blood transfusions. She was taken to intensive care in a coma and placed on a life-support machine.
Doctors told her husband that she could be in a coma for days or even weeks but she came round 12 hours later.
“When I woke up I thought the babies were still inside me,” she said.
“I held them the next day but I don’t remember it because of all the drugs. I missed out on that first skin on skin contact but that’s just one of those things.”
The following week Mrs Cottam was well enough to return home, while the
twins spent a fortnight in hospital.
Now all three are healthy and happy, Mrs Cottam said the experience was life-changing.
“I am a different person now. When something like that happens to you it changes your perspective on life.
“I am a bit more chilled out and take things in my stride and try not to let things get on top of me.”