COVID-19 Puts Mother and Unborn Child’s Lives at Risk

January 12, 2022

This past August, Breanna Pratt was 36 years old, 22 weeks pregnant and excited about the upcoming birth of her first child. She began to feel sick in ways different from the nausea and body aches she had grown familiar with during pregnancy. With 20 years of healthcare experience, she knew to immediately contact the office of her TexomaCare OBGYN, Dr. Stacey L. Thornton, at Texoma Medical Center.

The nurse she spoke with, Dedra, told her to come to the labor and delivery unit at the hospital for a checkup, where she was diagnosed with the Delta variant of COVID-19. She was given a liter of fluids, Zofran and started taking baby aspirin. Feeling better, she went home to rest and quarantine.

Severe Breathing Issues

Breanna’s condition worsened over the weekend and by Sunday, Aug. 8, she was struggling to breathe. Her husband Joseph took her to the ER at TMC that evening. They put her on a CPAP machine to help her breathe better, but it had little effect on her condition. Her care team quickly realized she had to be intubated or else she and her unborn baby would be at serious risk.

While intubated and in the ICU, Breanna’s care team treated her COVID-19 while also making sure she and her unborn baby received all the neonatal care they needed. Her treatment was a collaborative effort between the ICU and labor and delivery department. “I was told that while I was intubated, the nurses and doctors would meet in my room every morning to discuss their plan of action for that day,” she says.

Getting Worse Before Getting Better

Her condition reached a point where they considered putting her on an ECMO machine, which is considered a last resort for respiratory patients. “Things got worse before they got better,” Breanna says. “They tried dialysis and a lot of different medications, but I was starting to have organ failure.”

Eventually Breanna’s test results started improving dramatically to the point that she was stable enough to be weaned off the ventilator. Regarding her miraculous turnaround, Breanna says, “God, prayers and the doctors and staff at TMC saved my life.”

While recovering in the hospital, Breanna’s prenatal care continued. The morning she awoke from extubation, Dr. Thorton performed a sonogram so she could see her baby. Throughout the remainder of her stay in the hospital, Breanna says the daily checkups on her baby were what kept her going. “The highlight of every day was when the labor and delivery nurses would come in to check his heartbeat,” she says.

Brief Return Home Before Labor

After a month at TMC, Breanna was discharged at 27 weeks pregnant. She was able to rest for a week at home before her water broke and she was back at the hospital. Her condition had caused her to give birth prematurely, and even though he was born at 2 pounds and 15 ounces, her son Preston came into the world kicking and screaming. “He was ready to take on the world,” Breanna recalls joyfully.

Preston stayed in the TMC NICU for a month and spent the first week of his life on a CPAP machine. He had a lot of growing to do before he was ready to go home, and he also had to learn many things he wasn’t prepared to do for himself since he was still supposed to be in the womb. He ate through a feeding tube and his body was not yet ready to regulate his heart rate and oxygen levels.

Many People to Thank

While Breanna and her baby boy are both home now enjoying life with her husband Joseph, she considers them both miracle patients and believes it would not have been possible without the care she received at TMC.

“I am forever grateful to everyone that helped take care of me and I can’t say thank you enough. I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful staff that y’all have: the doctors, nurses, patient care techs, PT, lab techs, radiology staff and everyone involved in my case.

“Nurses would come by my room and tell me I’m the reason they are still doing their jobs. Dr. Ashley Brumm, OBGYN, who delivered my baby; infectious disease specialist Dr. Aditi Swami, who oversaw my COVID treatment; the care I received from them was above and beyond and I cry every time I think about it.

“The most important person I want to point out is Dr. Thornton. From the day I was diagnosed until now, he is the biggest reason I am alive and getting better. He made sure Preston and I lived, and it means so much to me. There was not one thing that was given to me or done to me without his approval. His care for his patients is exceptional and his heart is so big!

“I am forever grateful and will never forget the amazing care I got here at TMC! I am a miracle patient and proud to wear that title!”