Kelley Evans, a 37-year-old mom, suffered from panic attacks her entire life. Or so she thought. Because of a rare heart condition, Evans’s heart stopped beating for a total of four minutes while she was 23 weeks pregnant with her second baby.

The Daily Mail reports that this mother of two was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare heart condition, when she was a teenager. It causes her heart to beat quickly, which leaves her short of breath, dizzy, and faint.

Evans woke up one morning and thought she was having a panic attack. To manage her symptoms, she tried to lower her heart rate by drinking water and practicing breathing exercises, but it didn’t help. Instead, Kelley collapsed to the floor and her 39-year-old husband, Gareth, called for an ambulance. At that point, he still thought it was a panic attack.

He had no idea that his wife had just gone into cardiac arrest.

He said:

“It was a terrifying morning. I was so worried about my son, he needs his mom. I just keep thinking about how everything all lined up to make sure Kelley is still around. It was horrifying.”

There was no ambulance available, so a first responder named Stephanie was sent to the house until an ambulance could be found. She used a defibrillator to resuscitate Evans. The procedure worked, and her heart started beating again. By then, an ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital.

Gareth praised the first responder’s demeanor:

“She was so calm and didn’t seem panicked which made me feel less concerned. She just told me to get our son, Bob, out of bed ready. She got the defibrillator and started to pump her chest, and it brought Kelley back to life.”

A week after her episode, Evans had a successful heart surgery and four months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl they named Ava. The couple is grateful to Stephanie for recognizing the signs and taking immediate action.

Evans said:

“If the first responder hadn’t arrived when she did, it would have be a whole different story. She saved my life and without her, it’s possible neither me nor Ava would be here today. We were so relieved to hear Ava hadn’t suffered any complications, I can never thank her enough for what she did for our family.”

Thanks to her expertise, Stephanie the first responder was able to bring this mom back to life— and keep a loving family intact.

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