B.C. mom describes ‘surreal experience’ meeting new son after waking up from COVID-related coma

A British Columbia mom who gave birth while in an induced coma because of COVID-19 says she was released from hospital just in time to spend Christmas at home with her family.

Gillian McIntosh’s new son, Travis Len, was delivered by emergency C-section in early November after she was admitted to Abbotsford Regional Hospital because of complications related to the novel coronavirus.

She was unconscious and on a ventilator when the baby made his first appearance and didn’t meet him until mid-December, when she was eased out of her coma.

In a written statement released Wednesday, McIntosh said she was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve.

“It’s a very surreal experience to wake from a month-long coma, when the last thing I remember was going to the emergency department having trouble breathing and texting my husband that they were going to keep me in for a few days,” she said.

“Waking up, no longer pregnant, but to know our sweet baby boy joined the world and was healthy was such a relief and blessing.”

McIntosh said the opportunity to spend the holidays with her two children and husband was “one of the best gifts I have ever received.”

The family has said that McIntosh started feeling sick in the first week of November. She chalked up her symptoms to pregnancy-related pressure and pain late in her third trimester, but she then took a turn for the worse, becoming nauseated and unable to eat.

She went to the hospital, leaving her husband, Dave McIntosh, to look after their three-year-old daughter.

Full extent of damage caused by COVID-19 unknown

According to Wednesday’s statement, Gillian McIntosh has recovered from her illness more quickly than expected, but the full extent of the damage to her lungs is still unknown, and it’s not certain how long it will take them to heal.

She required daily physiotherapy in the hospital to relearn how to walk, and she still needs to use a walker, cane and other mobility aids to get around the house.

The McIntoshes’ newborn son, Travis Len, was released from hospital on Nov. 25. His mom contracted COVID-19 and had the baby via emergency C-section while in an induced coma in Abbotsford, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

McIntosh paid tribute Wednesday to the family, friends, neighbours and strangers who have reached out to offer thoughts, prayers and donations during her ordeal.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the world, and the outpouring of kindness we have experienced during a difficult time for all reinforces that there is much goodness that surrounds us,” she said.

Dave McIntosh offered thanks as well to everyone at Abbotsford Regional Hospital for the care given to his wife and newborn son.

“The cruel and unforgiving nature of COVID-19 has put our family through so much, but for the many months of the pandemic now, our front-line health-care workers have endured so much more,” he said. “It takes special people to be able to keep doing what our health-care workers have been doing for so long.”

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