Every baby's birth is a miracle to its parents, but little Elayna Nigrelli had a tougher time than most. Now three months old and healthy, Elayna was born while her mother, Erica Nigrelli, was technically dead.
An English teacher at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, Nigrelli was 36 weeks into her pregnancy when she started feeling faint one February morning at work, local NBC affiliate KPRC reports.
"I put my head down and I essentially just passed out," she told KPRC.
Two classrooms down, Nigrelli's desperate husband and fellow teacher, Nathan Nigrelli, called 911, according to Houston station KHOU 11 News.
"My wife is having a seizure. She's on the floor," Nathan Nigrelli told operators. "Oh my God! She's pregnant and she's foaming, unresponsive."
Meanwhile, co-workers rushed to help. Jennifer Longoria, June Tomlin and Maxine Reeves started doing CPR and located a nearby defibrillator to try to restart the pregnant woman's heart, according to the Fort Bend Star.
At the hospital, doctors stopped CPR so that Elayna could be delivered by emergency cesarean section, reports The Star.
"The doctors told me that Erica delivered post-mortem because she did not have a heartbeat when they took the baby out," Nathan Nigrelli told The Star. "But I married a fighter, and now I had a baby girl who was a fighter, too."
As a result of the surgery, doctors diagnosed Erica Nigrelli with a serious heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and gave her a lifesaving pacemaker, reports KHOU 11.
Meanwhile the trio of quick-thinking Elkins employees were honored on Monday by the Missouri City fire chief in recognition of their heroics, according to KHOU 11.