Mothers everywhere will be celebrated this Mother’s Day, but the celebration will feel extra special for one North Texas mom whose chance to meet her newborn last year was nearly robbed by COVID-19.
Jennifer Malagon, 33, caught the coronavirus during the delta surge halfway through her pregnancy.
She was hospitalized, but her condition worsened and doctors placed her on a ventilator, hoping it would be enough for her body to fight the infection while still nourishing her growing baby.
Unfortunately, her health continued to decline and doctors placed her on ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation which acts as a heart and lungs outside of the body.
It’s considered the highest level of life support.
“It was nerve-racking because you not only have the mom’s side, but you are also responsible for a baby’s life,” said cardiac surgeon Dr. Andres Leal.
After Malagon’s health didn’t stabilize, doctors determined the best move to protect mother and baby was to deliver baby Mia at 28 weeks gestation.
“I think we were all very scared. We had not seen this before,” said OB/GYN Dr. Jennifer McLeland, who performed the emergency surgery alongside her colleagues.
“When she [Mia] cried in the delivery room, we all took a deep breath,” said McLeland. “Jennifer did great through the delivery and Mia was so strong and so awesome.”
Baby Mia thrived in the neonatal intensive care unit while Malagon eventually began her road to recovery.
Friday, the entire family, including 8-month-old Mia, returned to Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center to visit with the medical team.
“I think, especially through COVID, these nurses really needed these happy stories,” said McLeland.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them so I’m thankful for them,” said Malagon.