To celebrate their anniversary, Chris and Diana Crouch went to Las Vegas. Their trip was wonderful, but pregnant Diana’s health took a turn for the worst soon after they returned.
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It started with headaches and exhaustion. Her doctor attributed her symptoms to dehydration and morning sickness, but once she developed a low-grade fever, it was recommended she visit an emergency room.
There she was diagnosed with COVID-19 for the second time and was told to monitor her oxygen levels, but two days later they were back in the hospital. Soon after, she was put on a ventilator.
“I didn’t think it was going to get that serious,” Chris said. “I didn’t know what to do. I was just really scared.”
As her condition worsened, she had to be placed on an ECMO – this last-resort device takes blood from a patient, runs it through an artificial lung, fills it with oxygen, then runs it back into the body.
“It definitely was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because a decision could be fatal if I don’t make the right decision,” Chris said. “But I don’t have a lot of time to make these decisions.”
A month later, Diana was off the ECMO. But more complications arose when she had a heart attack and three strokes, all in one day. She also experienced multiple seizures.
As Chris grappled with the idea that he may lose his wife and be left raising three kids on his own, he found strength in his faith, something that also helped their doctor.
“The next morning, I remember coming in and (Chris) said, ‘I know this is going to be okay, God has told me this is going to be okay,'” Dr. Cameron Dezfulian said. “‘We are going to have a heck of a story to tell when this is done.’ He was right. It is a heck of a story to tell.”
He added, “I think him saying that and just how sure he was about it made me sure, because really, as the physician, I didn’t have any kind of confidence. I knew what was up ahead of us. I knew all the things that could go wrong.”
Finally, things started to look up when Diana was able to come off the ECMO. Her lungs began to improve. She could stand and walk again.
But at 28 weeks into her pregnancy, her progress came to a halt. It seemed that until she gave birth, her body wouldn’t be able to make progress on healing her lungs, one of which had already collapsed.
Waiting as long as they could, Diana was given a C-session at 31 weeks. But despite the complications, their baby boy was born relatively healthy on November 10,, 2021! He required oxygen at first, but he was able to go home just three weeks later.
Even Diana saw major improvements almost immediately. At first it seemed she’d need a lung transplant, but overtime, she improved so much that it wasn’t necessary!
Thankful for all Dr. Dezfulian did, they named their newborn Cameron, in his honor.
“It’s never happened before. When they told me, I was in tears,” Dr. Dezfulian said. “It’s such an honor. I told them I said I don’t deserve this. I consider this one of a handful of miracles.”
After 139 days, Diana finally went home… two days before Christmas.
“Coming home was very emotional for me,” Diana said. “I actually felt a little bit down for a couple of days. It’s a lot for me to take in. I hadn’t seen my kids for so long.”
As Diana continues to use oxygen as needed and undergoes occupational and physical therapy, she hopes that her story will inspire others to not wait to get vaccinated like she did.
“I was so scared of putting something in my body that would affect my baby,” she said. “But I ended up getting so much more and I exposed my child to so many things that I would have never thought. I learned the hard way. I don’t like to push anybody into stuff. I don’t like to but I encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
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