In the case of an expectant highland mother, her COVID-19 worsened so much that two lives were in danger and two emergency procedures were required.
Now the new mother is back home with her newborn baby, and she considers the result to be nothing short of miraculous.
Bringing newborn baby Emery home was only possible after a struggle to defeat COVID-19.
Yvette Camacho was six months pregnant when she caught the virus and had to be hospitalized at the San Antonio Regional in the highlands.
“The doctors explained to me that my baby may not be successful,” Camacho said.
As her case worsened, her doctors arranged for a transfer to Cedars-Sinai for treatment with an Ecmo – in essence, a heart-lung machine.
“My vital signs dropped and it all happened so fast,” she says.
“She was really low on oxygenation, which is even worse during pregnancy because the baby depends on the mom,” said Dominic Emerson, MD, a cardio-thoracic surgeon.
Mother and Fetal Specialist Dr Melissa Wong performed the Caesarean section in Camacho’s room right there in the ICU. Neonatal intensive care was on hold and Dr. Emerson’s Ecmo team was ready.
“My team and I were literally standing outside, already dressed, ready to go. The second the baby was out we were inside, ”said Dr. Emerson.
Both procedures were successful, but mother and baby needed additional intensive care. When Camacho regained consciousness, she didn’t realize what had happened until her nurses showed her.
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“They showed me baby pictures, and they told me it was your baby… I didn’t even know I had a cesarean already,” she says.
It would take her days more before she could be with Baby Emery. The first introduction came through FaceTime.
She also learned that a friend with COVID-19 did not survive.
“It’s difficult and it’s a miracle to know that I was successful with my baby,” she added.
Dr Wong first went to the ICU to update her. Dr Wong’s child was also a premature baby, arriving at 29 weeks.
“And then really talk to her like another mom,” Dr. Wong said.
When Camacho had recovered enough to return home, it was a joy to be savored by her healthcare professionals as well.
“Being there for your child… means a lot to me,” said Dr. Emerson.
In fact, baby Emery needed extra newborn care in San Antonio and last week she joined her mother and the rest of her family at home.
“To see them both do so well, we are all incredibly grateful,” said Dr Wong.