Nicole and Dave Gallacher.
Nicole and Dave Gallacher.

‘Please come home, something is wrong’

A Melbourne teacher has lost her unborn child after suffering a massive brain bleed and stroke.

Nicole Gallacher was 22 weeks pregnant and home alone when she was suddenly struck down with a severe headache on March 19.

She tried to call her husband Dave Gallacher, who is also a teacher, but he was unable to answer his phone as he was in class.

Mrs Gallacher phoned her parents just as she was losing her speech and collapsed.

"They called an ambulance and two ambulances rushed to the house and had to break through the side door of the house to get in to her, she was on the floor," Mr Gallacher told news.com.au.

Dave and Nicole Gallacher’s world was turned upside down when she suddenly fell gravely ill.
Dave and Nicole Gallacher’s world was turned upside down when she suddenly fell gravely ill.

Mr Gallacher rushed home when at recess break he saw a voicemail from his wife which had been converted to text and said: "Please come home, please come home - something is wrong."

Mrs Gallacher was taken to Austin Hospital where it was discovered she had an abnormal mass on her brain.

In order to save her life Ms Gallacher had nine hours of emergency brain surgery, with her husband told to expect the worst a few hours in.

"The surgeon stepped out and gave me a phone call, (he said) 'It's a severely life-threatening situation and be prepared that she might not make it through until the morning'," Mr Gallacher said.

"From there I was just full of hope and I didn't want to think what the result might be.

"But when the brain surgeon tells you 'prepare that she might not make it until morning', that was very scary. I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life."

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During nine-hour surgery to save Mrs Gallacher’s life their unborn son Ned could not be saved.
During nine-hour surgery to save Mrs Gallacher’s life their unborn son Ned could not be saved.

Their unborn baby Ned had to be delivered during the surgery and was sadly stillborn.

"They did everything they could to save her life which meant they had to deliver our baby boy Ned because her lungs, her heart weren't working properly and he was taking too much away from her," Mr Gallacher said.

After the surgery Mrs Gallacher spent six days in a coma before she began flickering her eyes open.

In the days that followed she began slowing regaining her strength and trying to communicate more and more.

It was another week before Mr Gallacher could tell her what happened to their baby, waiting until doctors had removed the tube from her mouth.

"She was tapping her stomach just with her flat open hand, tapping her stomach and then putting her hand up in the 'what's happened?' hand gesture," he said.

"It was hard telling her but the hardest part was watching her asking me what had happened and not being able to tell her because the doctors have said to wait until the tube had come out.

RELATED: Mum's heartbreaking farewell to son

Mrs Gallacher was in a coma for almost a week after her lifesaving surgery.
Mrs Gallacher was in a coma for almost a week after her lifesaving surgery.

"I knew she just wanted to know and just needed to know, and I was her husband sitting next to her not being able to tell her exactly what she wanted to know and needed to know. That was one of the hardest things that I've had to experience."

Mrs Gallacher underwent a second surgery in April to remove the rest of the mass on her brain and has spent the last three months in a rehab hospital, slowly recovering.

She is now able to stand up and move a little bit, however, won't be able to work for the foreseeable future.

Right now Mrs Gallacher is working on being able to walk using a walking frame so she can come home and be with her husband.

The situation has been made all the more difficult by Melbourne's second coronavirus lockdown which has meant Mr Gallacher has been unable to see his wife for three weeks because of restrictions on hospital visitors.

"It is hard, it's very hard on her just being stuck in there and not able to see family and friends, that was what was helping get her through," he said.

"It has been really difficult the last few weeks."

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the couple pay for Mrs Gallacher's future care and alterations that need to be made to their house.

The fundraiser has so far raised more than $77,000, and Mr Gallacher said he was incredibly grateful for the support.

For help with stillbirth and miscarriage, contact SANDS.

 

Originally published as 'Please come home, something is wrong'



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