Gillian McIntosh gave birth while in a coma due to complications from COVID-19. Photo by HO /THE CANADIAN PRESS

 

A 37-year-old Gillian McIntosh was eased out of covid-19 coma sedation late last week and has been taken off a ventilator to meet her newborn son, Travis Len, for the first time this past weekend after testing negative for the virus, according to her family. 

In early November, McIntosh gave birth to her baby boy in an emergency C-section, at almost 36 weeks pregnant, while she was in a coma and fighting for her life from covid-19 on a ventilator in a hospital in Abbotsford, B.C.

After McIntosh gave birth in early November, soon after she was put on the ventilator and in critical condition and there wasn’t much change in her condition last week. 

McIntosh was reported feeling sick during the first week of November, and once her symptoms worsened, she was forced to leave her three-year-old daughter, Gemma, and husband, Dave.

Dave McIntosh, left, and his wife Gillian, bottom, are seen with their daughter in this undated photo. Photo by HO /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The two of them had to quarantine for the following weeks and tested negative for the virus. 

Soon after McIntosh gave birth, a GoFundMe drive was created to help the family that raised more than $72,000 from friends and strangers around the world. 

The mother’s condition is stable yet she remains in the intensive care unit at the Abbotsford hospital. 

Baby Travis was able to come home with the husband in late November after spending some time in the neonatal care unit for special monitoring. 

McIntosh thought her symptoms were pregnancy-related but after becoming nauseated and unable to eat, and found it difficult for her to breathe.

She was sent to the hospital soon after November 6th, and then that’s where things took a turn for the worse. 

The family is still unsure how McIntosh got the virus or tracked back to an exposure event. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for covid at the beginning of November, soon before the birth of her second child.

On Wednesday the family said in a statement that, “Our entire family continues to be humbled by the generosity of the community at large. We are grateful for each and every kind thought, prayer, message and donation.” 

McIntosh’s diagnosis with covid-19 wasn’t surprising considering the rise in the numbers of cases in British Columbia and increasing public health restrictions.

According to the Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia, there was a single-day record of 673 covid-19 cases yesterday, and 21 new deaths, making the total of cases 10,009 cases in the province. 

A family representative told CBC News that there is no time estimate for how much longer McIntosh will remain in the hospital because it is still unknown, as she’s still in intensive care. 

Dave McIntosh commented soon after the baby was born that their story should serve as a “cautionary tale for those who have previously dismissed the threat the virus poses.” 

McIntosh explained that following safety rules and being cautious isn’t enough.

“As a dad, my greatest hope is that my children grow up in a world where people are kind, thoughtful and considerate, their mother is fighting for her life due to this virus that some folks think isn’t actually real.

I can tell you that this virus is real because I am trusting a team of medical professionals to keep my wife alive right now.”

According to the McIntoshes, they have been safe following the covid-19 safety rules — and yet his wife still contracted COVID. 

Dave said that new measures need to be enforced, even if that means another lockdown.

“[It] clearly hasn’t been enough. Everybody needs to, as much as it sucks, shut everything down right now. It’s time to really start taking this seriously.”