Holly Gerlach gave birth to her first child at the age of 26. It was a joyous time. After being released from the hospital, Holly was on cloud nine taking care of her baby girl at home. Over the next few weeks, however, Holly started to notice a pain in her neck and a weakness in her legs.
“We were sitting on the couch videotaping Casey, who was starting to hold her head up on her own,” Holly writes in her book, Happily Ever After. She adds:
“I remember then I noticed one of my fingertips was a little numb and tingly, but I didn’t think anything of it. It kind of felt like the tingling when you burn yourself, and I figured that I must have burnt myself on something earlier and didn’t pay any more attention to it. Later, I started to feel really tired and weak and I thought I must be getting the flu again. But pretty quickly, my weakness got worse.”
Holly was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Within 72 hours, the young mom was completely paralyzed and could no longer breathe on her own.
With her newborn baby still at home, Holly was admitted to the ICU, where she spent two and a half months breathing on a ventilator and being fed through a tube in her stomach.
In the incredible video below, viewers are taken on Holly’s harrowing journey from paralysis to recovery. Watch her relearn how to breathe and walk — not to mention learning what motherhood feels like for the very first time.
Though the first part of the video is heartbreaking, wait until you see Holly’s miraculous transformation by the end. I can’t believe it’s the same woman we meet in the ICU!
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