Some days, he doesn’t feel like he’s mine,’ mum Shannon Everett admits of her young son, Nico.
That's because seconds after her baby boy was born, her entire world changed forever.
Shannon’s heart stopped beating for a staggering 68 minutes.
Her last words were: ‘I love you, Mummy’ – a comment directed at her beloved mum Nicola, 46, who’d been in the room with Shannon and her fiance, Ioan, as she gave birth.
‘First she told her fiance she loved him, then me, and I replied: “I love you too, baby,”’ Nicola recalls of that fateful day.
‘Then suddenly I realised Shannon was unconscious. There was noise from all the machines and the room was instantly filled with doctors and nurses. I was just holding her head, telling her to open her eyes and keep pushing.’
Baby Nico was pulled into the world with forceps in October 2017. He weighed 3kg, but Shannon - already a mum-of-one - had haemorrhaged severely in the process, plunging into a cardiac arrest.
She had suffered a major and rare complication called an amniotic fluid embolism.
Ioan, 25, and Nicola were ushered from the room as medics battled to save her.
‘Waiting in the corridor, after a while, I called my husband Heath – Shannon’s dad – and told him I thought she had gone, because they were still working on her,’ Nicola tells New Idea.
But incredibly Shannon, from the UK, survived – with doctors placing her into an induced coma so her body could repair.
For four long days her family kept a bedside vigil, willing her to wake up, before deciding to play some of the Madonna songs she had loved growing up.
And as Nicola sang Like A Prayer to her desperately ill daughter five days after Nico’s birth, something amazing happened. Shannon’s voice joined hers. She was awake.
‘I love you, Mummy,’ were the first words she spoke, echoing those she’d uttered during the birth.
But her mother’s joy was bittersweet when she realised something was very wrong.
‘Shannon kept calling me “mummy,”’ she tells New Idea. ‘Then, when we asked her where she lived, she gave us the address for a house we’d lived in when she was 13.
‘She had no idea who her fiance was and she didn’t believe us when we told her she had two kids.
‘It was like she’d forgotten her whole adult life and thought she was a young teenager again.’
As well as losing her memory, Shannon was paralysed.
But with constant care from her medical team and her loved ones, little by little, her speech and movement improved.
It wasn’t until October 12 – almost two weeks after his birth – Shannon was able to hold her son, with help, for the first time.
‘It was difficult for her to bond, with no memory of being pregnant or giving birth,’ Nicola recalls.
But Ioan brought in videos of their three-year-old daughter Mika, which helped to jog her memory a little.
After six weeks in hospital, Shannon finally came home – but she was wheelchair-bound.
As her family tried to help the young mum regain her memory, she showed her own determination to walk and write again.
‘When Shannon was in intensive care, I told Ioan that I wouldn’t think any less of him if he left her, but he told me there was no way. He loved her and he knew he wanted to marry her,’ Nicola says. ‘I promised him I would get her to walk down the aisle. It won’t be easy, but I know she can do it.’
While Nicola – who is incredibly proud of Shannon and the progress she has made – feels blessed to still have the daughter she came so close to losing, she sadly accepts that she will never be the same again.
Following on from the complications during birth, the permanent injuries she sustained means she’ll require a high level of care for the rest of her life.
‘We’re so proud of how far she has come,’ Nicola says.
‘Recently, her grandad asked her what has made her push herself so hard and she told him it’s all for her children.
‘She really is quite incredible and the fact she’s still with us is nothing short of a miracle.’
Nicola adds: ‘I love my daughter to bits, but she’s not the Shannon she was. She’s a new Shannon now.’