Sharista Giles went into a coma four months after after an automobile accident on the way home from a concert with friends. At the time, she was five months pregnant.
Giles woke up on Wednesday to find out she had given birth. The first thing she saw when she woke up was a picture of her baby.
Doctors had to deliver her son prematurely. He was less than two pounds at birth, but is now 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Because Sharista has been in a coma for months, her family called the baby Baby L until she had the ability to name him.
When Giles’ dad held up the picture of him, Giles “followed the picture” with her eyes, even turning “her neck, her whole head trying to follow and find the picture again” when her dad replaced it on a bulletin board, Giles’ aunt says.
Though Giles is far from recovered and her medical future is unclear, her family says it is a miracle she awoke at all — as some comatose patients stay in that state for years, even decades.
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“Doctors were telling us there was nothing else they could do,” her aunt says; she told WATE in December that the family was told the chance Giles would recover was as low as 2%. A Wednesday post on a Facebook page set up by her family says she was “blinking [and] squeezing our fingers when we ask her to. … She is not communicating yet but this is a great start!”
Baby L is still in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, but as soon as he can leave, the family wants to bring him to his mom. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $1,000 for mother and baby.
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The baby, nicknamed “Baby L,” was born prematurely in January and Giles was taken to Harriman Care and Rehab Center.
“The doctors were telling us there was nothing else they could do,” Beverly Giles, Sharista’s aunt, told ABC News. “They already gave up hope. We never gave up. She’s fought this hard.”
Beverly Giles posted to Facebook that the center called the family to tell them Sharista was awake and they rushed to see her.
Sharista blinked, gave her family members’ hands a squeeze when they tickled her and followed her father around with her eyes, Giles said.
“He showed her a picture of her baby, and she followed the picture,” she said. “When he turned around to put it back on the bulletin board, she turned her neck, her whole head trying to follow and find the picture again.”