After Horrific Fall, Pregnant Skydiver Gets Second Chance

In October 2005, Shayna West was supposed to spend a thrilling day skydiving with her then-fiancée, Richard West.

But when she jumped out of her plane, West's life spun out of control. Her parachute failed as she plummeted to Earth at more than 50 miles an hour. Unknown to her at the time, West was pregnant -- as she fell to Earth, two lives hung in the balance.

"I saw her spiraling down and I heard that pop," Richard West recalled. "I landed, I ran, I thought I was going to run up on a corpse."

Miraculously, West and her unborn baby survived, but not without injury. She lost five teeth, broke her pelvis and shattered several facial bones. On "Good Morning America," West talked about her recovery, her new son, Tanner, and why she recently gave skydiving a second chance.

In the hospital after her accident, doctors discovered that West was two weeks pregnant. She believes that her unborn son helped her stay alive.

"Tanner was my guardian angel that day, I just know it, I feel it, he was what I was fighting for," she said. "He was my reason to fight."

West is certain she was spared because she had things left to accomplish in life, including being a mother.

"I had things left to do on this Earth, I still don't know for sure what those things are -- one of them for sure is my baby," she said.

A Miracle Baby and a Second Chance

West had several surgeries to reconstruct her face and teeth. She was afraid that the procedures and painkillers would affect her pregnancy.

"I was on morphine for 16 days ... Even after I got out of the hospital I was on painkillers for several months," she said. "I had to take what they gave me and there was always a risk that it could have affected him."

Fortunately, Tanner was born without complications on June 13, 2006, and is growing up to be a healthy baby boy. West and her fiancée are now married and her body is on the mend.

And recently, West decided that she needed to do one more thing to fully recover from the accident -- skydive again.

"It was very important to me to go back and jump," she said. "First of all, I love the sport. Nothing's going to make me stop doing that. I couldn't let it beat me. Things don't beat me, things don't overcome me."

West's jump was successful, but with Tanner to take care of, she won't be taking to the skies anytime soon.

"I can't say that I'll never jump again, I love it too much ... but I love my baby more," she said. "I really hope that someday he'll enjoy it with me but until then, I'll stay on the ground with him."

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Magee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
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