SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Mitchell woman who gave birth while being treated for COVID-19 at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls waited more than a week to finally see her baby boy. And then things went from bad to worse.
Meet Myca Smith, born on August 23rd at Avera Hospital. He came into this world at 32 weeks. His mother Kim, so sick with COVID-19 and barely able to breath, was sedated during birth.
“I don’t remember anything,” said Kim Smith.
Her voice still impacted by the tube that was down her throat for more than a month, Kim says it wasn’t until 10 days later that she got to see and touch Myca.
“It’s hard to be a new mom and not be able to hold your baby,” said Smith.
Despite the joy of being a new mom, this healthy, vibrant 34-year-old woman could barely move, her heart and lungs could not keep up, so she had to be intubated. Her mother Cami flew up from Arizona to be with her.
“No mother should ever have to see their child on a ventilator,” said Cami Neale.
There were several moments when Kim didn’t think she could make it and she felt like giving up.
“I don’t know what it was that was in me to keep fighting, to push through to get out of the ICU but there was something and maybe it was him,” said Smith.
Still struggling to breathe, there were ups and downs. Mother and daughter had to communicate by writing on paper.
“So, she told me I just feel like giving up. Ripped my heart out. I just grabbed a piece of paper and I said ‘nope’. and I just showed it back to her and I put it in a big letter, NOPE!” said Neale.
“Mom with her good old pep talk, made me feel better,” Smith said.
Kim’s recovery has been slow, but she’s making progress. She admits she was unsure of the vaccine and chose not to get vaccinated.
“I was willing to take the risk, and my risk was not a good risk at all. So, I encourage pregnant women or anybody to get vaccinated. Going through what I’ve been through I wish I would have gotten vaccinated,” said Smith.
She says if her story can reach one person, her long journey will be worth it.
“I feel lucky, very lucky,” said Smith.
Kim and her family give a lot of the credit to the doctors and nurses at Avera’s ICU. It’s unclear when Kim will get out of the hospital, or the long-term effects of COVID-19 on her body. But she says she is looking forward to “doing the things that moms get to do.”
Doctors at Avera say the latest data shows pregnant women are at higher risk of serious illness and complications if they get COVID-19.