Angela Primachenko can't recall what her first thought was after waking up from a week-long coma.

The first two days were "very hazy". But when reality caught up, she realised that not only had she nearly died from coronavirus, she had also given birth to a baby girl while unconscious.

"I feel like a miracle," the 27-year-old told The Telegraph. "I'm so thankful to be alive".

The respiratory therapist from Vancouver, Washington, had been admitted to hospital about ten days earlier, 33 weeks pregnant and struggling to breathe.

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Angela Primachenko was finally able to hold her daughter after 15 days. Photo / @angela_primo
Angela Primachenko was finally able to hold her daughter after 15 days. Photo / @angela_primo

Her doctors told her she had tested positive for Covid-19. "I was shocked," she said. "I hadn't known anybody who's young and healthy who had it and I didn't have any underlying conditions, other than being pregnant."

But after being hospitalised, her condition got progressively worse and she was moved to intensive care - a dangerous scenario for a heavily pregnant woman.

During the worst moments, the sensation was "like you're swimming and you're trying to get air but you can't catch your breath".

She described what was going through her mind. "I don't think I had time to be scared," she said. "I was fighting for my life, I was like 'no, I need to stay alive. I need to keep breathing'. That was my focus. I wasn't thinking, 'oh man am I going to die?' Those thoughts never really crossed my mind, you just keep fighting, you don't have any other option."

Finally, the doctors decided to put her in a medically induced coma.

On April 1, while Primachenko was still unconscious and fighting off the virus, doctors induced labour and delivered her daughter, Ava.

"Next thing I know, I wake up and it's been a week and I gave birth to my baby during that time," she said.

"The first two days were just very, very hazy for me because of all the medication. So finally when the medication wore off I was able to realise: I nearly died and I had a baby girl during this process.

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"It almost felt like a dream. Is this reality? It just feels unreal, I can't believe it."

Baby Ava's name was chosen for its symbolic meaning,
Baby Ava's name was chosen for its symbolic meaning, "breath of life". Photo / @angela_primo

But the ordeal was not over. Primachenko had to wait to be declared free of the virus before she could see her newborn.

"She was 15 days old when I finally got to see her. I just hugged her and cried," she said. "I couldn't believe that this was my daughter. It's such a non-conventional way to give birth."


"I didn't have that normal experience like I did with my first [child], when you have all the pain and then that rush when your baby gets handed to you. I can't believe that she's here and that she's mine. She's my little April Fool's baby."

Premature Ava had to spend her first two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit until she was able to eat on her own but she does not have coronavirus.

Primachenko was discharged earlier this month, and Ava was finally able to leave the neonatal unit on April 19.

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The pair are now recovering at home with Primachenko's husband David and their 11-month old daughter, Emily.

Despite her premature arrival, doctors say Ava is exceptionally healthy. "She's 5lb 9oz so she's still a little one, but she's gaining weight and eating amazingly," said Primachenko.

Primachenko herself is still on the road to recovery. But despite her own grave encounter with coronavirus, she said she empathised with those calling for the lockdown to end.

"I understand why people are protesting, I think there's no right answer," she said. "I want people definitely to take it seriously and be as careful as they possibly can and if they have symptoms to please stay home. But does that mean the country has to be on lockdown forever? I don't know."

In the meantime, Primachenko is celebrating small victories: being able to get out of bed, shower, and hold her baby in her arms. If her experience has taught her anything, it is to be able to "find the good in every day".