July 27, 2001 -- Four-day-old Alexis Cooper continues to thrive today, after she was born to a mother who had been pregnant and in a coma for eight months.
Appearing on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America this morning with his new daughter in his arms, Steve Cooper, of Warsaw, Ky., said holding the baby after all his wife went through is "the most incredible feeling you could have."
"She's the most precious gift from God," Cooper said of Alexis.
Chastity Cooper gave birth Monday after eight months in a coma or semiconscious state following a car accident in November. She sometimes looks at people when they talk to her, but does not speak.
Mom in Coma Gives Birth to Healthy Baby
Doctors believe Mrs. Cooper's delivery of a healthy, full-term baby is the only such birth by a woman in a coma or semiconscious state going back at least to 1977.
"I don't think we really expected she was going to go to term," said Dr. Baha Sibai, one of the doctors who delivered Alexis. "I must say she has beaten all the odds. As you are aware, this is the longest pregnancy ever for somebody to have been in this situation and carry the pregnancy to term."
Sibai, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospital in Cincinnati, said Mrs. Cooper "surprised everybody" with a quick delivery and the obstacles she overcame.
"We had to make sure she reaches full-term pregnancy," Sibai said on Good Morning America. "The second thing, wanted to make sure that it has to be a controlled delivery. So decision was made to induce her once we realized that her cervix was ready.
"I must emphasize it took a big team effort to take care of her throughout pregnancy, including the process of delivery," he added. "The team probably is more than 20, 30 people. That includes different specialists, the nurses, social worker, nutritionist, your neurosurgery, pediatrics. Everybody was involved in her care."
Hoping for Mom’s Recovery
Mrs. Cooper's prognosis for recovery from her coma "is kind of up in the air right now," her husband said. But after what she has accomplished, doctors are not counting her out.
"She has showed some improvement from November to the present condition," Sibai said. "We are hoping that she might recover. There are instances in medicine where somebody like that has actually recovered."
Cooper believes his wife responded to the birth of Alexis with a smile, and recognizes her two young sons, Aaron and Jacob, when they visit her about five times per week.
"We're just praying and plan to go on with our everyday life," Cooper said, "and continue to pray for our mom and my wife."