Respiratory therapist finally meets baby she gave birth to while in COVID-19 coma

(VANCOUVER, Wash.) — A respiratory therapist in Washington state who delivered her baby 16 days ago, while in a coma fighting COVID-19, has finally met her new little girl, whom she named Ava.

The two were introduced Wednesday night after what Angela Primachenko said her obstetrician called a “miraculous” delivery.

At 30 weeks pregnant with her second child, Primachenko of Vancouver, Washington, decided to stop working and isolate at home with her husband and 11-month-old daughter to protect herself and the baby. Before her self-isolation, she’d been working on the front lines at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.

She told ABC News Wednesday, that three weeks later she had developed a cough. Days later, things had gotten worse, with Primachenko barely being able to have a conversation on the phone and resorting to just text.

During her second visit to the emergency room, she said, she was admitted by her obstetrician for observation. That night, she was sent to the intensive care unit in respiratory distress. She tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I was just literally like, ‘God, just get me through five more minutes.’ … Because the difficulty with breathing was so much harder. I’m like, gasping for air, you know, at that point,” she told ABC News. “You’re trying to breathe but you just can’t.”

She said she knew that she would have to be intubated at Legacy Salmon Creek because that was part of her job as a respiratory therapist at the hospital.

As her oxygen saturation dropped, Primachenko was intubated and put in a medically induced coma. After meeting to discuss what was best for Primachenko and the baby, she said, her team of doctors decided to deliver Ava at nearly 34 weeks gestation.

She says she woke up without a belly and was told she’d delivered her daughter on April 1.

“I didn’t realize that I had the baby really until I was probably already out of the ICU,” she told ABC News. “It still hasn’t hit me.”

Coworkers cheered for her as she was wheeled from the ICU at Legacy Salmon Creek.

Baby Ava was immediately put on a ventilator for a day. She now weighs 5 pounds and remains in the hospital but Primachenko said the baby is COVID-19 free and healthy.

Although Primachenko could not physically see Ava until she got two negative results from the COVID-19 tests, she was able to watch the newborn via FaceTime as she recuperated.

Primachenko, who has been home from the hospital since Saturday, has since had two negative COVID-19 test results. She said she has no idea how she got the virus. No one else in her family has tested positive.

“I am recovering, definitely feeling better every single day. … It’s crazy. … Last night, I was lying in bed and I’m like ‘Is this like reality?'” she said.

Ava will be able to come home soon once she is properly latching to the bottle for feedings. Primachenko said she was thankful that she was alive and that her daughter was as well.

“There’s so many people who are just living in fear every single day. … I would just say to the moms, I did everything right. I did all the precautions… and I still got it. And just life happens. … I would just say just live life in happiness and joy and community and God,” she said. “Live life the best you can.”

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