Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, much of the news coverage surrounding the virus has focused on case counts, death tolls, and the devastating impact it has had on people’s lives. Through all of it, however, we have seen some beautiful stories emerge demonstrating human kindness and sacrifice, as well as uplifting stories of people who have recovered after the illness.
One of these stories is that of Angela Primachenko.
Giving Birth in a Coma
Primachenko, a 27-year-old respiratory therapist living in Washington, was 33 weeks pregnant with her second child when she tested positive for COVID-19. One week later, she was on a ventilator, fighting for her life in a medically-induced coma.
Despite the fact that her baby had not come to full term, the doctors decided the infant’s best chance for survival was to induce labor and have her mother give birth early. With Primachenko still in a coma, 4.5-pound baby Ava was born.
Her mother, however, was unaware of her daughter’s birth until she woke up from her coma on April 6.
“After all the medication and everything I just woke up and all of a sudden I didn’t have my belly any more. It was just extremely mind-blowing.” she said .
Primachenko’s husband, Dave, and their 11-month-old daughter Emily were able to go visit baby Ava in the hospital, but because of her illness, the now mother-of-two had to meet her newborn over Facetime.
It was not until April 15, once she had tested negative for the virus twice, was Primachenko finally able to hold her baby girl. She posted several photos of herself and baby Ava, thanking everyone at the hospital who fought so hard to keep both her and her child alive .
Pregnancy and Childbirth During a Pandemic
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at a higher risk for having a severe case of COVID-19, however during pregnancy, women’s bodies will undergo changes that make them more susceptible to other illnesses such as viral respiratory infections.
For this reason, it is important that pregnant women be even more cautious and adhere strictly to social distancing regulations and stay-at-home orders .
There is also no evidence that the COVID-19 virus can be passed from a mother to a child when the mother contracts the virus during the third trimester .
If you are giving birth in a hospital, however, it is unlikely that you will be allowed to have visitors, since most hospitals are only allowing one support person to be present during the birth. If you are considering giving birth at home, you should check to make sure that home births are still an option in your state.
Once you have your baby at home, all of the same social distancing rules still apply. The COVID-19 virus has not been found in breast milk, so mothers who have tested positive can still breastfeed their babies, as long as they wear a face mask while doing so, and ensure that they thoroughly wash their hands before and after coming into close contact with their child .
A Close Call
Primachenko is incredibly lucky. While she has now made a complete recovery, just days before the birth of her daughter, doctors were unsure that she would pull through.
“We were actually scared we were going to lose our sister that day,” said her twin sister .
After such a harrowing ordeal, Primachenko says she “feels like a walking miracle”, and is incredibly grateful to have a happy, healthy baby girl .
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