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Local Mom Counting Her Blessings This Mother’s Day

May 06, 2011

Augusta, GA  - Not seeing your children grow up can be a mother’s worst fear, but thanks to some quick thinking doctor’s, Maureen Willingham can put that fear to rest.

It’s been nearly a year since she and her husband, Raymond had their fourth child.  Already the mother of a 7-year old, 11-year old, and 16-year old, Willingham had normal pregnancies.  That is until July 2, 2010, when her life and her new baby’s nearly ended.    

Willingham became 1 in 8,000 suffering from the undetectable and unpreventable disease called, amniotic fluid embolism.  The disease occurs when amniotic fluid, fetal cells, hair, or other debris, enters the mother’s blood stream through the placenta, triggering an allergic reaction.  The reaction results in cardio respiratory collapse, often times killing the baby and sending the mother into a coma, nearly 80% of them never wake up.  For those who do, many are left with a lifetime of rehabilitation.

This Mother’s Day, Willingham is giving thanks to OB/GYN, Dr. Donna Adams-Pickett.  Adams-Pickett immediately detected the problem and acted fast, along with her entire team to include the anesthesia staff and nurses, knowing time was not on their side.   

“Everything could have turned out a lot differently,” Willingham said.

It’s been a challenge for the family, but things are getting back to normal.  After several surgeries, and nearly four months in the hospital, Willingham has learned how to eat, drink and walk again.  

“I am finally able to go to the store by myself, and I am able to pick up my baby,” she said.

For Willingham, Mother’s Day won’t be just another day, but rather one spent reflecting on how close she was to never seeing her children again, and thanking those who helped her so that she could.  

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