After fighting for her life, mom finally gets to hold new baby

July 5, 2012 at 1:00 PM ET

Tommy Scott wasn’t worried when his pregnant wife called to tell him she thought she was coming down with a migraine. But when he got home from work Tommy found Amber, 38 weeks pregnant, laying in their bedroom unresponsive.

“I walked in the door, called her name and there was no answer,” Tommy told TODAY. “She had one eye open and one eye closed, and was moaning and vomiting.”

Tommy called 911 and 29-year-old Amber was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed a ruptured blood vessel in her brain. Surgeons delivered her baby by C-section and then turned their attention to Amber’s brain.

They operated and Amber seemed fine. But then things took a frightening turn and Amber once again became unresponsive. Realizing that Amber’s brain had begun to swell rapidly, doctors removed a part of her skull to protect her brain from being crushed against the bone.

A month later, Amber woke up, but wasn’t well enough to even speak. All the while her family visited regularly, showing Amber photos of the baby, Adeline, she’d yet to hold or even see.

“We wanted to let her know the baby was okay,” Tommy told TODAY. “Since day one, we've been showing her pictures. She's starting to smile a little bit. She always smiles now.”

Sunday, for the first time, Amber got to hold her baby.

“She held the bottle and fed her,” Tommy told TODAY. “She needed a little assistance, but she grabbed the bottle right away. She knows what's going on. For the first time, Adeline smiled too.”

Amber’s still got a long way to go. Doctors predict she’ll be in intensive rehab for weeks working to regain speech and motor skills.

But they say the signs are positive.

“She's now communicating with us,” Dr. Andrea Toomer, a physician at West Jefferson Medical Center, just outside New Orleans, told TODAY. “She can tell us what she needs and what she wants, what's bothering her. She's able to ask questions about what's going on.”

That’s enough of a start for Amber’s mom.

“The fact that she is seeing Adeline now, that she acknowledges her, that makes me feel better,” Laura Rabalais told TODAY.

Tommy takes hope from the speed of Amber’s progress.

“I would have never thought that we would be this far so soon compared to where started,” he told TODAY. “She has motivation to get better and definitely will."