Tennessee mother credits 2-year-old daughter with saving her life

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Tennessee mother says she has her daughter to thank for being alive after she collapsed two weeks ago.

Melissa Leach told WREG her daughter Emma Grace will sometimes sleep in her room with her when she wants "mommy time" or is feeling restless. Those nights, her fiance will sleep in Emma's room.

Emma's family describes her as a "Southern sass pot." Like most 2-year-olds, she’s not yet potty-trained and is still mastering her ABCs – but she recently showed knowledge beyond her years.

“I’m still in shock," said Leach, who had been fighting off what she thought was a sinus infection combined with her asthma. That night, Leach had Emma sleeping in bed with her when a coughing fit woke the Memphis mother around 3 a.m.

She went to the bathroom to clear her throat and when she turned to come back out, she passed out on the floor.

“I remember little bits and pieces, and I remember jumping on my back kind of like you would ride a horsey, and I remember her saying, 'Wake up mommy, wake up mommy.'”

After that, Leach said she blacked out.

“I got on mommy’s back," said Emma.

Her fiance later told her Emma ran into the room he was sleeping in and woke him up.

“He grabs his phone, he’s calling 911 and kind of keeping her at bay," said Leach.

Paramedics rushed Leach in an ambulance to an area hospital where she would remain for four days while undergoing treatment.

A doctor diagnosed Leach with pneumonia, severe bronchitis and asthma. Leach couldn't breath because her airways were so badly swollen, the doctor said, adding that Leach could have died if Emma didn’t act so quickly.

“God knew for whatever reason that he needed to wake her up," said Leach. She points to Emma as their biggest blessing.

When asked if she thought she was a hero, Emma replied with an enthusiastic "Yeah!"

Leach says she’s feeling better and can’t wait to retell the story to Emma when she’s older.