LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. — A Loxahatchee mother said she is thankful for the first responders who helped her recover after being diagnosed with COVID-19 during her pregnancy.
She ended up on a ventilator but credits hospital staff with helping her survive and reunite with her newborn.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
Little Jayden Hernandez is now home in his mother's arms. It is something mom Jessenia Hernandez will never take for granted.
"I'm very grateful to still be here because I was very close to dying," she said.
On Oct. 5, Jessenia, who was pregnant with Jayden at the time, felt sick and went to Palms West Hospital.
"I went in and got tested for COVID, and it was positive, so they admitted me that day," Hernandez said.
She doesn't remember much after that.
An emergency C-section was performed, and her son was born, but her condition did not improve. She was then put on a ventilator and transferred to JFK Medical Center.
The staff treated her and also formed a bond with her family.
"[We spoke with] all of their children over FaceTime. We kept in touch with the PICU and NICU doctors that were at Palms West that were taking care of the baby. The staff at Palms West constantly prayed for her, and we prayed for her," said Dr. Katherine Hodgin of JFK Medical Center Critical Care.
After weeks in the hospital, Jessenia's condition started to improve.
She finally woke up to see her baby for the first time but still could not hold him.
"We cried with her. She cried when she first saw her baby over FaceTime. We cried with the husband when he was actually able to actually see her," Hodgin said.
The 32-year-old mother said she is still recovering and now uses a walker to get around.
"Be aware that it can happen, and it's something very scary. It's nothing to be like, 'oh, it's just a cold.' It's not. It's life-threatening," Hernandez said.
"I think that cases like this show us how fragile life is, that you can have perfect health and think that you have tomorrow, and you may not have that," Hodgin said.