Kingwood mom who survived COVID-19, 3 strokes, heart attack while pregnant names baby after doctor
HOUSTON - A pregnant mother of five from Kingwood spent more than four months in the hospital, suffering from life-threatening effects of COVID-19. Her doctors believe it's a miracle she's alive.
Now, the baby is named after one doctor at Texas Children's Hospital who had faith she would make it.
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Diana Crouch is now in the comforts of home with her newborn, Cameron. It was the true fight of her life after being admitted to Texas Children's Pavilion for Women in August.
"She presented here at 18 weeks and came directly into our Intensive Care Unit in a desperate condition with COVID. It was recognized that she needed to be ventilated, but unfortunately, her condition progressed rapidly to where she needed Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation or ECMO, and that is basically a lung machine," explains Dr. Michael Belfort, Obstetrician and Gyn Chief at Texas Children's Hospital and Chairman of Ob/Gyn at Baylor College of Medicine.
Diana's doctors say ECMO was helping keep her alive, but it comes with its own risks.
"When she was 25 weeks pregnant, about five weeks into her ECMO course, she showered clots through her body and had three strokes as well as a heart attack all in a 24-hour period. So it was pretty devastating. Really at that point, we were really concerned that it might be it for her," states Dr. Cameron Dezfulian, the Medical Director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease ICU at Texas Children's Hospital.
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She was also having seizures while in a coma. While all of this was going on, Diana's husband, Chris, was able to take time from work as a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy to be at her side, with their four other children home with her parents. COVID-19 protocol meant if Chris left, he couldn't go back to the hospital and the balance was emotionally challenging.
"I couldn't see my kids at home, and I didn't know if she or the baby were going to survive, so it was really difficult. She was in the hospital 139 days," states Chris.
When Diana's health declined with a collapsed lung and infection, her medical team decided it was time to deliver her baby at 32-weeks into her pregnancy.
"The baby did incredibly well, was actually kind of large for premature size, about four and a half pounds, so a decent size kiddo. He only spent a few more weeks in the hospital and he actually beat his mom home by several weeks," says Dr. Dezfulian.
"He's a miracle for sure! I mean, when your mom is on life support, and she's supporting him, it's just a miracle to say the least. We were trying for a while to have him, and it seemed like it was the hardest thing we've ever done," states Chris.
Through the hard times, Chris remembered the good days with his wife and turned to prayer and support from Dr. Cameron Dezfulian, a Medical Director of adults in ICU at Texas Children's Hospital.
"He was one of the only doctors who gave me any hope as far as she's going to make it. I'm not knocking any other doctor or anything, but they'd say, I don't know, we'll wait and see, we hope this works. We'll see, just keep praying and just keep your fingers crossed and all that, but Doc Cameron was just like, we're going to get through this. I know we are, and he was the only one. There were a lot of dark days," describes Chris.
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The doctor would take time to pray with him on those dark days.
"I really believe, and he believes, that God was behind this. I mean, we really believe this. It was a big, miraculous thing. I will forever look at this and say, Wow, this I got to be a part of a miracle. I mean, it was incredible," exclaims Dr. Dezfulian.
The powerful bond between Chris and Dr. Cameron Dezfulian is what prompted this couple to name their newborn, Cameron after their loving and caring doctor. The doctor admits it means the world to him, but emphasizes the massive team effort it took, more than 100 people working to save Diana and her baby.
After Cameron was born, Diana was expecting to need a lung transplant, but she rapidly got better.
Most of it is a blur to Diana.
"I didn't even remember being sick. Like I don't remember not being able to breathe," reflects Diana.
It did forever change her life in a positive way.
"I went months without eating, months without taking a shower, months without seeing my kids, so my family is everything to me now. I mean, not that it wasn't, but you just cherish every more morning, every night, every screaming child, like even what they do wrong. You just look at it differently," explains Diana.
Chris says he no longer sweats the small stuff either. There was a time when he didn't know if he would be planning funerals, but now he's planning their future.
The Crouch's say they are sharing their story as an awareness campaign, because they were concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine and had not gotten one when Diana was hospitalized. They are now fully vaccinated and encourage other pregnant moms to do the same. Their doctors say pregnant women are safest with a vaccine.
"For the sake of your children and the sake of your loved ones, get vaccinated! There is no truth to the misinformation that the vaccine causes malformation or affects fertility in any way. We simply have not seen bad effects that outweigh the benefits of being vaccinated," states Dr. Belfort.
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