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A Miraculous Recovery

Doctors at UCLA Medical Center cannot explain the remarkable recovery of Maria Lopez, a young mother who lay comatose through most of her pregnancy and was not expected to live.

She went into a coma on April 24, suffering from a condition called arterovenous malformation, in which people are born with malformed or tangled arteries or veins in the brain. The pressure eventually caused bleeding from the fragile tangle of blood vessels in the back of Maria's head. Her family was told the 25-year-old's condition was irreversible.

"I told the family quite directly that I didn't think that she could recover, and that it was a very reasonable choice to withdraw life support," neurosurgeon Dr. John Frazee told CBS News.

After several meetings with doctors, her family agreed. They brought in a priest for last rites, and held hands, praying. While preparing for her death, a miracle happened, Maria's sister, Sylvia Hernandez says.

"Just all of a sudden, she opened her eyes. We were all holding hands praying for her. She opened her eyes. She just shook her head softly like, 'No, give me a little more time.' That's when we decided not to take her off."

"Ever since then, you know, we just started seeing a little more and more. It's been a long, long haul, but she's coming out," she added.

Doctors say Maria's awakening was an involuntary reflex, but the family saw it as a sign to help her recover.

In June, Maria slowly began to regain consciousness. On June 15, her twin daughters were born by Caesarean section. Since their birth, Maria has been improving rapidly, Dr. Frazee says, perhaps because her body no longer had to sustain them. For him, his patient's progress has been extraordinary to witness.

"I don't have a medical explanation," he says. "I think miracle is as good a word as any as for what went on. It's certainly an unusual experience for us."

The twins, Arizandy and Brianna Lopez, are both expected to go home this weekend, while their mother will be transferred to Loma Linda Medical Center for up to three months of physical therapy.

"Every day we see more progress and more progress," Sylvia says. "It's just amazing to see how she's recovering from this. We didn't expect her to make it. As far as the babies, they're doing great."

For Maria and her family, her recovery has changed their lives.

"It has certainly changed everything really drastically," Sylvia says. "I quit my job to take care of her five kids. I can't even explain, you know. We're just dealing with things day by day. We're thanking God every day for her."

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