When the due date approaches, pregnant women always hope for a smooth few days. Ashley Goette, 28, was no different, as she lay in bed with her husband Andrew ahead of the big day in October 2018. However, their immediate plans were put on hold when he suffered a heart attack.
Residents of West Saint Paul, Minnesota, Ashley and Andrew were ready to have a baby soon after their wedding in 2016. Despite their enthusiasm, though, the pair had to wait until January 2018 before Ashley finally became pregnant.
The expectant mom already boasted some experience looking after children, as she works at Cottage Grove Elementary in Minnesota. Since October 2014 Ashley has served as a special education high needs paraprofessional at the school. Meanwhile, Andrew isn’t completely inexperienced in that area either.
Andrew works as a wrestling coach at Woodbury High School, while also holding down another job. When he isn’t teaching kids how to wrestle, he works as a plumber for a local business named Janecky Plumbing & Heating.
However, Ashley and Andrew’s lives changed forever on the morning of October 16, 2018, the day before the former’s due date. The 28-year-old was woken up by the sound of her husband snoring, but it soon became apparent that that wasn’t the case. A few moments later, she realized that he was actually struggling to breathe.
Ashley then called 911. “I told them what was happening, and the dispatcher walked me through CPR, because I’m not trained,” she told ABC News in October 2018. “They wanted me to get [Andrew] down to a hard surface, but I explained to them that I [was] 39 weeks pregnant, and I couldn’t get him on the floor.”
With that in mind, the dispatcher assured Ashley that her pregnancy wouldn’t be a problem. “So I started doing CPR on the bed,” she continued. “They had me counting out loud, and I don’t feel like I was counting for very long before the first responders showed up and took over.”
As the emergency responders continued to work on Andrew, Ashley then started to have some terrifying thoughts, fueled by the impending arrival of their first child. “When they were standing in the house and doing CPR, I was thinking, ‘I cannot have this baby and not have Andrew be here,’” she told Today. “That was going through my head all day.”
From there, Andrew was transported to United Hospital in Minnesota. The doctors then placed him into a medically induced coma. For the following 24 hours, his body was cooled down to 91 degrees in a bid to prevent any brain damage. However, the situation looked bleak during that period.
“It was just kind of a sit-and-wait situation for those 24 hours,” Dr. Alex Teeters told Today. “He initially had very concerning findings. A CAT scan of his head showed signs of brain injury and there were physiologic signs of brain injury. We started preparing the family that this might not turn out well. It could’ve gone either way.”
Despite those fears, though, Ashley refused to accept the possibility that Andrew might not pull through. “I didn’t want to have to think for one second about having to do any of this without him,” she told ABC News. “I kept telling him the whole time he was asleep, or in his coma, that I was not going to have this baby until he woke up.”
On that note, Ashley cancelled her induced labor appointment, instead staying by Andrew’s side at the hospital. Later that afternoon, the doctors started to take small steps in waking her husband up, including taking him off the sedatives. A short time after, Andrew’s dad then noticed some movement.
“Then he just sat up and opened his eyes,” Ashley recalled to Today. “I was on his Spotify looking for songs he likes to try to spark brain activity, and all of a sudden he’s awake. I just dropped everything and I was just telling him he was okay because he looked so scared and confused.”
As it turned out, Andrew had been suffering from a rare condition known as Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome. This condition is caused by an extra electrical connection in the heart, which causes it to beat abnormally fast. After diagnosing the issue, the physicians then cauterized the problematic connection.
However, Andrew would need to wear a special vest for the following three months, with doctors monitoring his heartbeat. Should anything happen, the vest is also designed to shock his heart back into its correct rhythm. “For the most part, I made it out unscathed,” he told Today. “I’m just really lucky.”
But he drama didn’t end there. Because the day after Andrew woke up, Ashley went into her induced labor. “They brought Andrew down to labor and delivery, on his very own hospital bed and just parked it right next to mine,” she told KMSP-TV in October 2018. “And he got to be there throughout [the whole process].”
However, the pair were separated when Ashley’s doctors needed to perform a cesarean, so she was moved into another room. At that point, Andrew watched the rest of the delivery via FaceTime thanks to his sister-in-law. Following a labor that lasted around 22 hours, she finally gave birth to their son Lennon.
A few moments later, Andrew became the first person to hold his newborn baby. “I’m still watching on my phone as they’re coming through the door,” he told KMSP-TV. “So that was pretty cool. And I was already standing there with my shirt off waiting for him, with all my electrodes still hanging off of me.”
After everything that happened, Ashley, Andrew and Lennon finally returned home on October 23, 2018, ending a quite incredible week. According to Dr. Teeters, though, things could’ve been very different if the former didn’t react like she did. “[Andrew] seems to be completely normal,” he told ABC News. “I don’t think Andrew would be here today if it wasn’t for the actions of Ashley.”
However, Ashley strongly played down her role. “I feel like I’m given a little bit too much credit here,” she told Today. “… Andrew defied the odds by waking up from all of this and being injury-free, and all the credit should go to the doctors, nurses and paramedics. I’m just so happy everyone is home and healthy.”