Doncaster mum, 24, paralysed after suffering stroke during pregnancy which also threatened unborn daughter's life
A Doncaster mum has revealed how she was left paralysed at 24 after suffering a stroke during pregnancy which also threatened her unborn daughter’s life.
Claire Winnett suffered the stroke after suffering from high blood pressure caused by pre-eclampsia – and her daughter Sienna had to be delivered by C-section weighing a tiny 2lb 40z.
Doctors were forced to remov part of Claire's skull to relieve pressure and cut out a blood clot as both mum and daughter fought for life.
The shop worker was in a coma for 10 days - with partner Adam Jones, 30, forced to alternated between the bedsides of his daughter and partner.
She said: "I felt like my world had come crashing down when I realised I had a stroke. I just couldn't believe it.
"But it was all worth it to bring Sienna into the world. I don't know what I'd do without her.
"If I'd have survived without her, I'd have felt so guilty.
"She is helping me to get stronger. I want to get better for her. I want to be able to play with my daughter."
Now nine months on, Claire has been left with a huge swelling on her brain, which means she has to wear a protective white helmet every time she leaves the house.
Claire said: "The doctor said we both could have died, but before they could operate on me they wanted to save my baby.
"We were both lucky to survive. It's so rare for this to happen during pregnancy.
“I’ve got no idea how long it will take before I can move properly or walk again."
Claire's pregnancy was completely normal until September 6, when her arm started shaking uncontrollably at home.
Adam, a waiter, called 999 and Claire was rushed to Doncaster Royal Infirmary - where an MRI scan revealed a bleed on the brain.
Doctors said Claire had suffered a stroke and diagnosed her with pre-eclampsia, a condition which tends to occur in the second half of pregnancy.
She was transferred to Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital for specialist treatment - where medics discovered deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot and bleed on the train had triggered the stroke.
Claire, who was operated on a day later on September 7, said: "They told Adam I might not survive the surgery and couldn’t risk the baby as well.
"She was all weak and floppy when she was born. She was tiny.
"It was horrible for us. We had no idea what to do and how it would turn out."
Adam said: "Thankfully Sienna was absolutely fine. We are very lucky.
"It was absolutely horrible for me. I didn’t know what to think or how to feel.
"I was terrified. I honestly didn’t think Claire would make it. They told me she might not make it through the surgery.
"I was absolutely over the moon when I saw them both for the first time. I broke down when I saw Claire.
"She was covered in blood and bandages. It was awful to see."
Claire could barely move when she first woke from the coma, but was finally able to hold her daughter at 12 days old - when the newborn was placed on her chest.
She said: "It was absolutely horrendous. I felt trapped in my own body. I was unable to move at all."
Over time, the mum regained some movement in her head, neck and upper limbs, while Sienna now weighs a healthy 13lbs.
The pair returned home on November 9 and Claire has been left wheelchair-bound, although she recently regained movement in her toes and is expected to make a full recovery.
She will have follow-up surgery in the next six months, for a bone graft to strengthen the part of her skull where surgeons operated.
Claire said: "The surgeon said I was lucky to survive. I’ve only just been able to wiggle my toes again.
"I had to completely retrain my brain and had to have therapy to teach my muscles how to move again.
"It’s been really difficult. I just want to be able to do the things I used to be able to do.