Brian and Melissa Carleton learned that they will have a baby not long after they got married but their joy and anticipation were marred by Melissa's headaches during the early stage of her pregnancy. The condition further escalated culminating in a coma.

The headaches turned out to be symptoms of a benign brain tumor. Although a benign brain tumor is non-cancerous and not as aggressive as a malignant tumor, it can still cause problems particularly because it increases pressure inside the skull. Melissa's growing tumor led to frequent seizures but she decided to wait until she has given birth before having her tumor surgically removed.

Melissa's health deteriorated fast and by March, she had a seizure that damaged a part of her brain involved in wakefulness. Doctors proceeded with an emergency surgery to remove the tumor but while the operation went fine, Melissa had been in a coma ever since.

Despite fears that the baby or Melissa would not survive because of her comatose state, Melissa was able to give birth to a baby boy on Thursday, May 22. West Nathaniel Lande, who his father described to have Melissa's eyes and ears, weighed 2.5 kg when he was born via C-section at the University of San Francisco Medical Centre in California.

Brian, who works as a deputy sheriff, said that the baby's birth was bittersweet because Melissa was not awake to share his joy of meeting their son. He made sure that the delivery was memorable nonetheless despite Melissa's condition so he had the baby lay on his mother's chest.

Her condition did not also stop Melissa from breastfeeding her child. Since giving birth, Melissa has been breastfeeding the baby albeit with assistance. Prior to her stroke, she had expressed she wanted to breastfeed her son.

"The UCSF staff, Melissa's family, and I, work hard to give Melissa the opportunity to nourish West," Brian wrote. "This is a challenge, but one we, and Melissa are up to. I ask that people respect our privacy on this matter and understand the medical and logistical complexity of helping Melissa be a mother."

Melissa may be in a comatose state but she is apparently aware of what is happening. Prior to giving birth, she moved Brian's hand to her stomach apparently for him to feel the baby inside. John Farrel, Melissa's father, also said that she was making eye contact with her baby.

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