John Farrell’s pregnant daughter went into a coma 10 weeks ago, but today it’s not hard for him to be joyful.
Today, he became a grandfather.
“She’s wanted to have a child for years,” he told ABC News. “Today, I can’t begin to tell you how happy we are. It’s indescribable.”
Melissa Carleton, 39, became comatose in March after suffering a seizure caused by a benign brain tumor, Farrell said. Although she has been hospitalized and unable to speak since she was 26 weeks pregnant, she carried her baby boy to full term and delivered him by C-section today in San Francisco.
Carleton’s husband, Brian Lande, has barely left her side, according to ABC affiliate KFSN-TV.
"I know that being able to love this little guy is going to be a wonderful experience, but I also know it's going to be very hard for me to know that I am going to be the one to hold this baby first,” Lande told KFSN-TV before the birth.
Doctors discovered Carleton’s tumor during her second trimester after headaches landed her in the emergency room, Lande wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help cover the family’s medical expenses and other bills.
Carleton decided to wait until the baby was born to undergo surgery to remove the tumor, but her health deteriorated too quickly, Lande told KFSN-TV. In March, she struggled to walk from the hospital parking lot to its doors, stopping frequently to rest on the ground.
The following morning, Carleton had a seizure that damaged part of her brain and prompted doctors to perform emergency surgery to remove the tumor, Lande said.
"She was also terrified that she would miss the baby and something would happen to her and she wouldn't get to meet our son and she wouldn't get to participate in being a mother," Lande told KFSN-TV.
The surgery went fine, but the seizure left her “unable to fully wake up,” according to the station.
Although Carleton is in a coma, she’s able to open her eyes and squeeze her family members’ hands, Farrell said. And Thursday morning, just before surgery to give birth to her son, she was the most awake Farrell has seen her in weeks.
“In a few tender moments, she reached out to Brian, took his cheek, pulled his cheek down to her face and held it there,” Farrell said. “It was the first time she had hugged Brian since this trauma happened.”
He said they’ll be sure to let her hold her son, even if they have to help her a little bit.
Once Carleton recovers from surgery, she will be moved to a rehabilitation facility, where doctors hope she'll come out of her comatose state, according to KFSN-TV.
“Though we have a daughter that is in the state that she’s in right now, we will also have a grandchild,” Farrell said just minutes before the birth. “To be here at this point is a great gift for her. It’s a great gift for us. It’s a great gift for her husband, Brian. It’s going to be easy today to be joyful and happy.”