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A week after giving birth, comatose woman shows some improvement

SAN FRANCISCO -- A comatose woman who gave birth last week is showing signs of improvement and the baby is doing well, her husband said Thursday.

Melissa Carleton, 39, gave birth to her son, West, by cesarean section on May 22 at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. The Fresno woman has been in a coma since undergoing surgery for a brain tumor in March.

Her husband, Brian Lande, told reporters his son is gaining weight after having lost some following his birth, CBS San Francisco reported.

On Thursday, Lande said he brought West to the hospital and he was able to help support his wife's arms so the baby could lie on her.

Melissa Carleton and Brian Lande San Francisco

Carleton had "some wakefulness" Thursday morning, Lande said, noting she is making steady improvements. He said doctors are still working on getting her to communicate.

"We know she can take information in and sometimes push it out but they don't know exactly where the problems are," he said.

Lande said while taking care of West is "'awesome" and, unsurprisingly, a lot of work, his wife currently needs as much care as his newborn.

"It's a lot to juggle ,taking care of two people who need that kind of intensive attention and care and love, and I'm very, very happy to be that guy that gets to give them that love," said Lande. "They deserve it."

Lande said was exhausted but family members have been available to help him out.

He said it was difficult not being able to share the experience of bringing home a newborn with his wife.

"I had always assumed ... we'd be doing all these things with West together with Melissa," he said "It's very hard not having her here and sharing these moments with her."

Carleton is close to being moved to a long-term acute care facility, said Lande. He said doctors say they believe she is on the cusp of emerging from her comatose state, but they are not able to say if her incremental improvements will continue or whether she will make a full recovery.