Melissa Carleton, a California marriage and family therapist, had recently gotten married and was expecting her first child. During her second trimester, doctors discovered a tumor the size of her fist in her brain. After symptoms of extreme fatigue, she was admitted to the hospital to have it removed. She had planned to have surgery done to remove the tumor after the baby was born, but was unable to wait. Although the surgery to have it removed went well, she suffered a seizure that left her in a coma. Since that time, she has remained in the hospital, spending her entire third trimester in a coma.
Unable to wake up from her coma in time for delivery, West Nathaniel Lande was delivered via c-section today. Despite the circumstances, Melissa’s husband Brian Lande was careful to follow all of the birth plans the couple had already arranged, including breastfeeding. He wanted the mother and son to experience as much of a normal experience as possible.
Throughout the ordeal Brian Lande has stayed by his wife’s side, talking with her and encouraging her to wake up. Although he is happy that his son was delivered safely, he feels sadness for his wife not being able to experience it. He previously shared his wife’s biggest fear with reporters:
“She was terrified that she would miss the baby.”
There is still hope that she may recover. Doctors, however, are not making promises even though Melissa is able to open her eyes and move her hands at times. The family received a bit of encouragement though when on the day of the delivery, she rubbed her belly and attempted to hug her husband.
Although Melissa’s seizure was the result of a brain tumor, seizures during pregnancy are frequently caused by epilepsy. These seizures pose a large risk to both mother and child, including the risk of coma.
Pregnancy seizures can cause preterm labor and preterm birth. Melissa Carleton’s baby was full term and does not appear to have any medical concerns.