Natalie Lander didn't know she was pregnant when she broke her neck and back in a car crash. She woke from a coma
to be told she was pregnant with her second child.
Doctors have been amazed by her recovery. She had to learn to walk and talk again - as well as cope with her unexpected pregnancy
. But she has now given birth to a healthy baby boy called Max.
Natalie, 31, was only four weeks pregnant when her car spun out of control as she drove to work in July 2011. Her husband Marcus was told she might not survive her horrific injuries, which included breaking her back in four places and her neck twice, as well as a smashed pelvis and brain injuries.
But Natalie came out of her coma - to be told the amazing news that she was pregnant. Natalie had a son Alfie but thought she was unable to have any more children due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
"I am so lucky to have my health, and my family," says Natalie, from Walsall, West Midlands. "I was so badly injured that doctors had no idea whether I'd ever walk or talk again. When I found out I was pregnant, I was torn between being overjoyed and terrified.
I was so worried that my little boy, Alfie, wouldn't have a mum who could look after him properly, let alone another baby. But the doctors and nurses who looked after us all have done a fantastic job, and they've been really pleased with my progress.
"I still have some stiffness on my left side, but I am finally able to look after my boys - and I have even finally been well enough to go back to work."
Natalie was put into an induced coma to take the pressure off her body while medics battled to save her, following her horrific car crash.
"The doctors told me to prepare for the worst," says Marcus. "They said Natalie's injuries were so severe that she was put in an induced coma to take the pressure off her body. She had suffered a bleed and swelling on her brain, and had to undergo key hole surgery."
After coming out of the coma, doctors did a routine scan to check Natalie was not pregnant before starting further treatment. Although the first scan came back negative, Marcus insisted on a second check. Doctors then discovered that his gut instinct was right, and Natalie was four weeks pregnant.
"The doctors recommended that we could consider terminating the pregnancy, but we wanted to fight for our baby - and once we told the doctors that, they did everything they could to help us," says Natalie.
I was terrified that the accident would somehow have affected my baby. I was paralysed down my left hand side, and could barely speak in more than a whisper because of the damage to my vocal cords. Nobody could tell me how far I would recover.
"While I was pregnant, I underwent four months of intensive physiotherapy, which helped me learn how to walk and talk. It was awful being away from Marcus, and my little boy Alfie, now four, while I was doing the intensive physio.
"But I managed to learn to stand and walk much quicker than they expected at first. I was trying to concentrate on getting myself better, but I was so worried about the little baby growing inside me.
"Medics kept telling me he would be fine, but I wouldn't believe it until I held him in my arms myself for the first time. My journey so far has been difficult and frustrating, but I keep going for the sake of my children.
"When Max came home from the hospital, I still wasn't able to climb the stairs by myself - I wasn't strong enough. But now, I have started driving again, and have even gone back to work at my job in sales a few days a week.
"I am so incredibly grateful to the doctors and nurses who have helped me, and West Midlands Air Ambulance, who saved my life. I can't ever thank them enough for saving my family."
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