When first-time expectant mom Holly Gerlach was admitted to the hospital six years ago to deliver her daughter Casey, she never could have imagined that childbirth would trigger a rare condition that would put her into a coma.
Holly Gerlach Became Paralyzed 20 Days After Her Daughter Was Born
Twenty days after Casey was born, Holly felt a strange tingling sensation in her fingertips and her legs felt incredibly heavy. She went to see her doctor, who believed she had a pinched nerve. But when she collapsed later that evening and was rushed to the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré Syndrome – a condition where the immune system attacks the body’s nervous system.
The New Mom Was Unable To Breathe On Her Own
Within 72 hours, Holly’s life turned upside-down. She became paralyzed from the head down and couldn’t breathe on her own, She was placed on a ventilator and was unable to talk because of the tube in her throat.
Doctors Diagnosed Holly With Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Doctor’s gave her family the grim news that her prognosis did not look good.
She became incredibly depressed because she was unable to bond with her new baby, so her family brought Casey to see her every day. They would place her on Holly’s chest and once a week she would sleep in the room with her.
She Miraculously Began To Show Signs Of Improvement
At the six week mark, Holly stunned everyone when she began to move her fingers. Each day, small goals such as breathing on her own for 30 seconds at a time became victories. As she grew stronger, she learned how to walk, talk, feed herself and brush her hair.
Holly was transferred into the stroke ward for the next six weeks, where she focused on intense physical therapy. Nearly five months after being admitted to the hospital, Casey was able to walk without a cane.
Five Months After Being Admitted, Holly Left The Hospital
Going home was a huge transition for she and Casey and at times was challenging. But the new mom and her daughter quickly found their rhythm together and grew closer each day.
She And Casey Bonded More And More Each Day
Flash-forward to today and Holly has completely turned her life around. She remarried a wonderful man named James and is a dedicated fitness enthusiast.
Today Holly Is Stronger Than Ever
She’s also written a book about her experience with GBS called Happily Ever After: My Journey with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and How I Got My Life Back and inspires people everywhere with her touching story.