Mum meets daughter for first time after giving birth in coma

Associated Press
·3-min read

Nearly three months after Kelsey Townsend gave birth to her fourth child, the 32-year-old woman was finally able to meet her daughter.

Lucy, now bright-eyed and alert, flashed her a smile.

“Hi. I love you. I love you so much. Yeah, I’ve missed you,” Ms Townsend told her.

Ms Townsend, from the US state of Wisconsin, was in a medically-induced coma with Covid-19 when she gave birth to Lucy via cesarean section on November 4.

In this Jan. 27, 2021 photo provided by Taryn Marie Photography, Kelsey Townsend meets her daughter Lucy for the first time face to face in Poynette, Wis. Kelsey Townsend gave birth to Lucy via C-section on Nov. 4 while in a medically induced coma due to COVID-19. She spent 75 days on lung and life support. She was discharged from University Hospital in Madison on Jan. 27. (Taryn Ziegler/Taryn Marie Photography via AP)
Kelsey Townsend meets her daughter Lucy for the first time after giving birth while in a medically induced coma due to Covid-19. Source: Taryn Marie Photography via AP

She ended up spending 75 days on life and lung support. She finally met her daughter on January 27 — the day Ms Townsend was discharged from University Hospital in Madison.

“We instantly bonded when we met. She gave me a great big smile and looked at me like she knew exactly who I was and that made me feel just so happy,” she said.

Dr Jennifer Krupp, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and the Women’s and Newborn Health Medical Director for SSM Health Wisconsin Region, said it has been rare for the hospital to deliver a baby to a mother so sick with Covid-19.

Ms Townsend’s oxygen saturation was very low when she arrived at the hospital — so low that a fetus’ brain and other organs could be damaged — and her skin was tinged grey and blue, Dr Thomas Littlefield said, so her baby had to be delivered as soon as possible.

Doctors thought Townsend might need a double lung transplant at the end of December. But then she started improving — so much that she was moved out of the intensive care unit, taken off a ventilator in mid-January and removed from the transplant waiting list.

Ms Townsend’s husband, Derek, described the experience as a “big roller coaster.”

“There was many, many nights that I would get phone calls late at night and into the early morning, and the doctors kind of informed me that they’ve done all that they can to support Kelsey and they’re having a hard time stabilizing,” he said. “So there was many times that we thought we were going to lose her.”

Mr Townsend said even his baby daughter seemed to notice someone was missing when his wife was still hospitalised.

In this Jan. 27, 2021 photo provided by Taryn Marie Photography, Derek Townsend brings his daughter Lucy to meet her mother Kelsey Townsend for the first time, face to face in Poynette, Wis. Kelsey Townsend gave birth to Lucy via C-section on Nov. 4 while in a medically induced coma due to COVID-19. She spent 75 days on lung and life support. She finally met the daughter she delivered face to face on Jan. 27. (Taryn Ziegler/Taryn Marie Photography via AP)
Derek Townsend carries his daughter Lucy to meet her mother for the first time. Source: Taryn Marie Photography via AP

“The past three months with Lucy, you know, her head is always moving and she’s always looking. And I told Kelsey that I believe she’s just constantly looking for her,” he said.

The pair contracted coronavirus despite taking precautions, Mr Townsend said. As he got better, his wife got worse. That’s when they went to the hospital.

“Family is everything to me,” Ms Townsend said. “So I have everything to live for right here and coming home. There was no question that I wouldn’t.”

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