KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Four months have passed since a pregnant Sweetwater woman was in a tragic accident that left her in a coma at UT Medical Center. Family members say she has now begun to wake up.
After the accident, Sharista Giles's mom Anna Moser said doctors had given her daughter a 2 percent chance of recovering, but family and friends were confident she would beat the odds.
Sweetwater pregnant woman in a coma at UT Medical after tragic accident
Sharista and two friends were on their way home last December from a concert in Nashville late at night, when the tired driver crashed into a guardrail. The other two girls walked away from the accident, but Sharista was trapped in the passenger seat unresponsive. She was four months pregnant with a baby boy who came to be known as "Baby L".
"They think she'll never wake up," Moser told WATE 6 On Your Side in an interview a couple of weeks after the accident.
The director of UT Medical Center's Trauma Center shared details about severe brain injuries and the signs doctors look for in patients who have them.
"We have those basic functions, and one of those, for example, is response to pain, or yawning, or periods of wakefulness," said Dr. Brian Daley. "When we don't see those, that's when we worry things won't improve."
Almost two months went by with no progress and Sharista, still pregnant with a growing Baby L, continued to experience sympathetic storming.
"Her fever was reaching 108. There was 18 hours of storming," Moser said. "A lot of breathing, her vitals and all that are just going crazy."
Moser said because Sharista's vitals were constantly spiking and Baby L was only 26 weeks, doctors told her they weren't sure they could safely deliver the baby and keep Giles stable.
"She was 26 weeks and two days and they got a window. The OB doctor came to me at 6:00 that morning and he said, ‘There's a window here,' and he said, ‘I think I'm going to go for it if it's all right with you,'" she said.
Leighton Isiah Giles was born one pound 14 ounces, but Sharista remained unresponsive, forcing her family and friends to lean on faith.
Previous story: Baby shower being held for Sweetwater mother in coma
Four months and two days after the accident, Moser got a call from the rehab center. Sharista had opened her eyes.
Moser said at first, it was like her daughter wasn't there. She wasn't sure Sharista recognized her or knew what was going on. She was hopeful but only cautiously optimistic – until a few nights ago when she was talking to her Sharista and things changed.
Previous story: Friends: Sweetwater mom wakes up from coma
"I said, ‘If you could get out of that bed right now, I could take you home,' and her head come up. And she had never did that, it was plumb off the bed," Moser said. "That's when I knew."
Moser shows Sharista pictures of Leighton and talks to her daily, and now she knows her daughter hears her.
"I finally have not a doubt in my mind. And I needed that," she said. "It's a process. But I know, I know, it's truly a miracle. It's truly a miracle."
Sharista has a long, long way to go. She still has a tracheotomy and so far, she is nonverbal. However, Moser said baby Leighton finally got to leave the NICU and she still believes her daughter will make a full recovery and raise her son herself.