Mother Dies in Labor but Lives to Tell the Tale

Stephanie Arnold went into labor as her heart suddenly stopped, spent six days in coma.
3:00 | 12/23/13

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Transcript for Mother Dies in Labor but Lives to Tell the Tale
Now to a story that has really touched all of us. It's about a mother who beat the odds after dying while delivering her baby son. And miraculously, coming back to life. Now she's telling her incredible story. How she instinctively knew something was wrong and how that may have saved her life. Reporter: This moment is one stephanie arnold thought she would never live to have. Within a second of him being born, I coded. I seized and I coded. And I was clinically dead for 37 seconds. Reporter: The complication began when she was diagnosed with placenta previa. The baby's placenta covers the cerv cervix. The doctor said not a big deal. You need to take it easy. Don't worry about it. From 24 weeks on, I had a strong, strong premotion that I was going to die. I started to write good-bye letters. I september out a couple of them. Reporter: When she went into labor in may, she began to hemorrhage. Her heart stopped. Doctors were able the revive her. She spent six day ifs a coma. What caused it was a rare event called an amniotic flooud fluid embolism. Reporter: Afe affects 1 in 15,000 deliveries in north america and is the second leading 'cause of maternal death if the u.S. Really lucky to have survived. I'm having issues in recovery. The majority of people that survive this has severe neurological damage. I'm fortunate not to have that. Reporter: For "good morning america," paula faris, abc news, new york. Wow. Abc news senior medical contributor dr. Skren for ashton joins us now. Did she really die? Medical terms, your interpretation? This is the real thing. This is flat line lp cardiac arrest, full resuscitation. Very, very rare as we heard. The thinking is that at the time of delivery, the amniotic fluid, which is fetal property gets exposed to the mom's circulation. It is like an anaphylactic reaction. Unable to clot. Uncontrollable bleeding. About 1 in 2 moms will die. Those who do survive have significant long-term neurologic problems. Any warning it could be coming? She talk about this sense of foreboding. I say it all the time, in general in medicine, but in obstetrics, trust your instinc instincts. You hear a woman so nervous that something is going to get on, we take notice. What do you do if somebody comes to you with a sense of foreboding? Reassure them. Practice proper medicine. We don't know what the associated risk factors are. In obstetrics, 99% of things go smoothly. When they don't, you have two lives. A lot of female viewers watching. Is there anything they can look for? Not really. This is why we say most of the time, women, yes, they can give birth at home and everything will be fine. When something goes wrong, you need full anesthesia staff, blood bank, the ability to get a full resuscitation. That can only take place if the hospital. That type of monitoring saved this woman's life. Amniotic fluid embolism. A true miracle. Coming up on "good morning america," we're one on one with the a.P.'S entertainer of the

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