A brave mum is learning to walk and talk again after she suffered a stroke which left her paralysed just a week after giving birth to her stillborn son.
Caitlan Geere, 23, and her husband Mitch, 26, lost their son Lucas when she was eight months pregnant, after the little one suffered a haematoma in the womb.
She was so far along she had to give birth, and unbeknown to Caitlan and the medics, she ruptured a nerve during the traumatic delivery.
It caused a blood clot to form in her brain and six days after losing her son she suffered a stroke while at a wedding.
Surgeons had to cut out half her skull to reduce swelling on her brain – and against all odds she survived, but was left paralysed on one side.
She was on life support for a week but thankfully survived and is now learning to walk and talk again after the stroke paralysed her right side with Mitch as her full time carer.
Her proud husband Mitch from Nottingham is speaking out to show his pride for his fighter wife.
Mitch said: “It’s been the worst year of our lives.
“We started 2019 with so much hope – we were newly married and expecting a baby, we were so excited for our future.
“Within months, we were burying our son and Caitlan had nearly died.
“It feels very unfair what has happened to us and I don’t really know how we’ve made it through but we have and Caitlan is really just such an inspiration to me.
“I feel so happy that she has come around and started to live her life and I am so proud of her with the way she has started to walk and talk.
“After the worst time of our lives, Caitlan is just doing so well every day and I’m truly amazed by her progress, she has done me proud.”
Block paver Mitch and patient transfer operative Caitlan were both looking for a new beginning on New Year’s Day in 2017 when they met each other on dating website Plenty of Fish.
The couple fell in love and tied the knot in March 2018 before finding out they were expecting a baby in November 2018.
Surprised but excited, the happy pair started to plan for the arrival of their first child and got their house ready to welcome a new member of their family.
Caitlan’s pregnancy seemed to be going well until a month before her due date when they realised something was wrong on May 23 2019.
Mitch said: “We were sat at home when Caitlan’s belly suddenly went like jelly and she couldn’t feel the baby moving.
“We rushed her to the hospital and when the doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat, we were sent for an emergency ultrasound where they told us that our baby’s heart had stopped.
“They told us that our son was dead after suffering a haemotoma and that Caitlan would need to give birth to him as a stillborn.
“When I found out that we had lost Lucas, I felt like my heart had been ripped out and shattered into pieces.
“It was utterly soul destroying and I don’t know how either of us got through it.”
Caitlan was induced at 36 weeks and three days after their son was declared dead, she delivered baby Lucas on May 26 2019.
Lucas was in the breach position and the difficult positioning combined with the tragedy of delivering a stillborn made for a traumatic birth for the couple.
Although struggling emotionally, Caitlan appeared to be in good physical health following the birth until disaster struck six days later.
Mitch said: “We were at my dad’s wedding reception on June 1 2019 and Caitlan came over to me to say that she had a bad headache.
“I sat her down and went to get her water, but when I came back, she looked like she was going to be sick so I helped her to the bathroom.
“Caitlan suddenly collapsed in my arms and fell unconscious, I had no idea what to do.
“I was on my own holding her in the toilets for ten minutes before another wedding guest came in and found us.
“By some miracle, this guest happened to be a nurse so she took over whilst I phoned an ambulance.
“It was really hot in the wedding reception venue so we thought she may have fainted but then we couldn’t get any response from her.
“I felt so lost and useless because I couldn’t do anything at the time and all I wanted to do was make things better – I wished it was me.”
The ambulance rushed Caitlan to Queens Medical Centre where she was taken for a CT scan.
Doctors found that Caitlan had ruptured a nerve whilst giving birth to Lucas which had sent a blood clot up into her brain, causing an ischaemic stroke.
With Caitlan still unresponsive, doctors told Mitch that she only had 24 hours to show any signs of improvement or she would die.
Mitch said: “When I found out that Caitlan might not live, I thought what else is there left for me to live for?
“We’d already lost our son and she was my everything – I thought I was going to lose everything.
“I just wanted her to wake up and these past few weeks to have been a horrible dream.
“The doctors told me that she urgently needed to have surgery if she had any hope of surviving, so I told them to do it, even though it wasn’t guaranteed that she’d live.
“I said you’ve already taken my son, you can’t take my wife away now.”
Caitlan underwent a decompressive craniotomy on 2 June 2019 where half of her skull was removed in order to relieve pressure on her brain.
The surgery was a success and four days later, Caitlan came off of her life support machine for good.
Before her stroke, Mitch and Caitlan had arranged to have a funeral for Lucas and thankfully she was allowed to leave the hospital briefly to say goodbye to her son.
The couple were surrounded by friends and family as they laid their baby boy to rest on June 28 2019, and Caitlan was officially discharged from hospital two weeks later.
Caitlan’s stroke has left her paralysed down her right side and unable to talk but she is slowly recovering with the help of Mitch who has become her full time carer.
Mitch said: “Caitlan is slowly getting back on her feet and she can just about walk now.
“She can say the odd word and we’re just practising every day until she gets her speech back.
“As half of her skull was removed, Caitlan has to wear a special helmet which she is really self conscious about when we go out in public.
“Doctors have said they expect her to make a really good recovery but she won’t ever be back to being quite the same as she was before.”