Fort Worth

Young Mother Survives Stroke While Pregnant With Twins

Stroke is on the rise among young adults.

Doctors say it's because of poor lifestyle habits and undiagnosed congenital defects.

A Fort Worth woman, who thought it could never happen to her, is sharing her story of how doctors not only saved her life but the lives of her babies.

Ronnie Wooten and Amber Shropshire don't take a single moment with their twin boys, Hayden and Hunter, for granted.

21-year-old Shropshire suffered a massive stroke in October of last year. She was 20 weeks pregnant with the couple's set of twins.

She doesn't remember anything, but Wooten remembers the frightening phone call he got from Shropshire's mother.

"She was saying that her head was hurting really bad and after, that's when she started violently shaking," said Wooten.

"It was about 10:30 at night and they told us that we had to go say our final goodbyes," said Wooten. "When the doctor told me that, I was like, we're fixing to have to do three funerals."

Doctors said Shropshire had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels called an arteriovenous malformation in her brain.

They're very rare and most people who have them are born with them, but don't know it until something causes it to rupture.

"She was throwing up, as many pregnant women do, and sometimes that kind of action can cause these things to rupture," said Dr. John Tompkins, the neurosurgeon who took Shropshire's case when doctors in Wise County transferred her to Medical City Plano in an effort to save her life.

His team had to perform an extensive surgery to remove the tangle of blood vessels and a blood clot.

"This was very dangerous. She was 20 weeks pregnant. We have to try and get her through it. We have to try and get the babies through it," said Dr. Tompkins.

After the hours-long, successful surgery, Shropshire spent 39 days in the hospital, while the babies continued to grow.

She made a full recovery and delivered Hayden and Hunter last December, with no complications.

"You hear stroke and you think, 'that's for old people,' because that's honestly what I thought. I didn't know anything about strokes before," said Shropshire. 

"I would have never thought I'd have twins in the first place, nor a stroke, especially this young," said Shropshire

There was a 44% increase in the number of young Americans hospitalized due to stroke over the last decade, according to the National Stroke Association. 

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