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Respiratory therapist with COVID-19 gives birth while in coma

4 years 2 months 1 week ago Tuesday, April 14 2020 Apr 14, 2020 April 14, 2020 4:01 PM April 14, 2020 in News
Source: CNN
Image via KPTV/CNN

WASHINGTON- A pregnant respiratory therapist fighting against COVID-19 was advised by doctors to go into a medically induced coma. When she woke up, her baby was 5 days old.

Angela Primachenko, 27-years-old, was 34 weeks pregnant and days into her fight against the coronavirus. She missed the birth of her baby while in a coma.

"That was emotionally unbelievable," she said. "It was just crazy to have to try to understand what happened the last 10 days, having to puzzle back together your life."

Primachenko lives in Washington, a state that has gotten a lot of attention as the COVID-19 crisis has grown in the US. Washington was the first in the US to announce a case of the virus on January 21, also where the first coronavirus-related death in the country occurred.

Like many, her symptoms began with a cough that escalated to a fever.

Primachenko, a respiratory therapist at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, had not been going to work and is unsure how she caught the virus.

"She knew the risk," said Oksana Luiten, her twin sister. "She took every precaution."

It was her family that encouraged her to get tested and in the two days she waited for the results, she got progressively worse.

"Being a respiratory therapist -- just being a human, I guess -- I knew I couldn't keep breathing the way I was and survive," she said.

Primachenko's test was positive. On March 26, she went into the ICU of the hospital that she works in. Three days later, she was put on a ventilator, the same machine she assists doctors with at work.

"When you're that sick, you're just fighting for your life," Primachenko said. "My focus wasn't on fear; it was just on getting through it."

Her medical team held an hour-long meeting to decide how to care for her and her pregnancy, CNN reports. Her doctors suggested they induce labor to give her lungs more space and her body more nutrients, according to her sister.

Primachenko's husband, David, gave the doctors permission, and a healthy girl was delivered vaginally on April 1, Primachenko said. 

David called her Ava, a name he knew his wife loved and a name they later learned, on the internet, means "breath of life."

"We were actually scared we were going to lose our sister that day," Luiten said. The twins are two of 10 siblings.

Days later, Primachenko turned a corner and was extubated, leaving the ICU.

Medical staff clapped and cheered for her as her hospital bed was wheeled down the hall. Behind a face mask, she smiled.

Ava is still in the NICU and will not be able to meet her mom until Primachenkp tests negative for the coronavirus.

"I just want to hold her and hug her and love on her and catch up on the first few weeks I missed out on her," said Primachenko.

Until then, she is relying on her faith to get her through this season of life.

"I believe because of the community and the people and everyone that believed in me," she said, "God just did a miracle to have me and my baby be healthy through this."

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