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Gainesville woman gives birth, then spends weeks in coma
Julie Roberts with her husband, Wayne Roberts, and their daughter, Bethany.
Events for Julie Roberts
Bike Ride to Amicalola Falls
10 a.m. Sunday
Where: Riders begin at Crossroads Deli near Food Lion on Browns Bridge Road
Cost: $20 donation or whatever you can give
More Information: Riders can sign up on the day of the event or contact Jim Smith at Gainesville Motorsports

Concert and Dinner
When: Dinner begins 4 p.m. Aug. 14
Where: Hopewell Baptist Church, 5086 Poplar Springs Road
Cost: $15 per ticket
More Information: Contact Sherry Smith at for ticket information. Also visit for information about donations.

She planned on going home with a healthy baby girl, on rocking her daughter to sleep each night, on nursing her when she needed to be fed and holding her when she cried.

But Gainesville native Julie Roberts’ plans changed when doctors discovered a large blood clot on the left side of her brain.

Now, baby Bethany is already eating cereal. Her mother remains in the hospital. Roberts finally was able to hold her daughter last week.

“We had put her in her lap before, but she hadn’t reached up and touched her or done anything like that,” said Sherry Smith, Roberts’ sister-in-law. “But last week, she actually reached up and put her hands on her legs and on her feet and talked to her.”

Her husband, Wayne Roberts, was by her side.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “It was just really emotional. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I was thanking God.”

Julie Roberts’ struggles began after she gave birth to her daughter. During her pregnancy, she developed preeclampsia — a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine — and needed to be admitted to the hospital. On March 27, daughter Bethany was born four weeks early.

The next week, the new mother had five seizures. Doctors discovered the blood clot and rushed her into surgery. She made it through but was in a coma for four weeks.

After additional surgeries and transfers between Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Landmark Hospital in Athens, Julie Roberts is awaiting a move to the brain clinic at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

Her family never thought something like this would happen to them. They were shocked, shaken and their lives were changed forever.

“It’s like the world’s upside down,” Smith said. “It’s nothing like it’s supposed to be like, what you’d imagine that life would be like.”

She said the community needed to be aware of the warning signs Roberts experienced before her aneurysm changed her life. At first, doctors thought her headaches were just side effects of medication she was already taking, Smith said.

“Had she known that those were signs of an aneurysm, she could have said, ‘No, I need you to check,’” Smith said.

Sunday, friends, family and supporters will meet at Crossroads Deli on Browns Bridge Road for a fundraising bike ride. Riders will gather at 10 a.m. and bike to Amicalola Falls.

The cost to participate is a $20 donation, but Jim Smith, the event’s organizer, said people can give however much they can.

“Even if it’s just showing up as a sign of support,” he said. “That’s really what we want.”

Sherry Smith said donations and encouragement were appreciated, as this ordeal has put an extra weight on the family.

“To transfer to Shepherd, that will be costly,” she said. “We’re just trying to make sure that the funds are there to get her back to where she can be functional and take care of herself and take care of Bethany.”

She is organizing another fundraising event Aug. 14, a chicken dinner and concert at Hopewell Baptist Church. The event starts at 4 p.m. and tickets are $15. All money goes to support Roberts and her family.

“You just never know when or if it’s going to happen,” Roberts said. “And it can happen to anybody.”

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