Eye on KELOLAND: Recovery continues for mother who gave birth fighting COVID-19

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In mid-October we brought you the story of a 34-year-old Mitchell woman who was near death when she delivered her baby boy. COVID-19 was slowly suffocating her. Kim Smith doesn’t remember giving birth and would not get to hold her son for the first time until 10 days later.

Meet Myca Smith, born on August 23rd at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls. This little guy had a tough first few days. His mom was fighting for her life because of COVID-19. He came into this world at 32 weeks old.

We first met his mom Kim on October 14 at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, her voice was still hoarse from the tube that had helped her breath for more than a month.

“It’s hard to be a new mom and not be able to hold your baby,” said Smith.

That was Kim in Mid October. Now, two months later she’s back home in Mitchell. Today her life consists of, caring for Myca and her 9-year-old daughter, and a focus on getting better, which includes both occupational and physical rehab. COVID-19 damaged her lungs so she still needs bottled oxygen.

“I can usually tell when I’m below 90 because my head starts to hurt and just short of breath and I still have coughing attacks, said Smith.

Kim has come a long way since we last saw her in the hospital. Her Occupational therapist says she’s making slow but steady progress.

“When she first got out of rehab and she was coming to us we were working on things just basically for her to be able to take care of her children, be able to take care of her home, and now she is surpassing those goals,” said Stephanie Flippin

This light board helps improve her physical and mental reaction times. For Kim, the next goal is going back to work as a Hospice nurse assistant.

Looking back at her weeks in the ICU it’s still hard to believe she went through what she did and almost never came home.

“I do think I was fighting for my life, there were a lot of times when my family didn’t think I was going to make it and that makes me sad,” said Smith.

Sad, because Kim says no parent should have to face losing a child as her mom did.

“I saw a white light, and I was floating up and I saw my loved ones you know kinda like one by one and it stopped but that whole month was just gone like I don’t remember it,” said Smith.

Kim says she did not get vaccinated because she just wasn’t sure about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines.

“My daughter was sick with it, her dad was sick with it, and her stepmom were all sick with it and you know they all had mild symptoms and I’m fighting for my life in that ICU, but I look back it doesn’t matter how many times I look at those pictures it doesn’t sink in yet, it is crazy,” said Smith.

Her doctors say she is a fighter, and there aren’t that many patients who survive being on a ventilator for a month. Another example of her strength; she recently revealed that the day we talked with her in the ICU, she was bleeding from her chest tube, but toughed it out.

Kim says she has been in contact with the ICU staff at Avera and thanks them for not giving up on her. She survived but her recovery has not been easy and every once in a while she has what she calls a “pity party”.

“They are few and far between, some days I’m just tired of going through all this and ready to get back to work. I take it day by day and I’m thankful and I’m thankful for my family and the donations and the support from people I don’t know,” said Smith.

Kim encourages anyone on the fence about vaccines to get the protection they offer. She says she would not wish what she has gone through on anybody.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t think it’s going to happen to you and the next thing you know it does happen to you.”

Kim’s mom has been temporarily staying with her while she recovers. In an odd twist of fate, her mom is able to work remotely because of the pandemic.

Doctors at Avera say the latest data shows pregnant women are at higher risk of serious illness and complications if they get COVID-19.

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