MILLCREEK, Utah — One year ago, a Utah woman gave birth to her son, all while in a coma due to a life-threatening battle with COVID-19.
McKenzie McCombs said she tested positive for the virus at the beginning of November 2021. It left her unable to sleep or even eat.
During the coming days, she said things got worse.
"We ended up calling the ambulance November 19th to come get me because my oxygen had dropped to 77. I ended up being transferred up here to St. Mark's, and then three days later, I was being put on life support," said McCombs.
She was 28 weeks pregnant with her second child, Coleman.
"She couldn't breathe. The COVID had wrapped her lungs tight, and she was dying," said Brad Mortimer with St. Mark's Hospital.
Mortimer said McCombs' pregnancy made it so they had to evaluate not just her, but her baby.
"She would have been dead in an hour," said Mortimer.
He said they worked fast to help deliver Coleman via c-section, all while McCombs was in a coma.
"By the time we were able to birth her child and get her on life support was all of about five minutes," said Mortimer.
He said his team took turns on a 24-hour basis, caring for McCombs and making sure she was alive and safe the entire time.
McCombs woke up a week later.
"It took a few days for me to even know what was going on, and even then, I didn't know that Coleman had been delivered," she said.
After 16 days, she was released from the hospital.
However, at just two pounds and six ounces, Coleman would spend 76 days in the NICU before getting to come home in February.
Tuesday marked a special day for McCombs and her young son.
Coleman celebrated his first birthday back at the hospital where he was born — and the one that helped save both his and his mom's lives.
They were able to reunite and meet the health care workers who worked around the clock and were by their side through it all.
Plenty of hugs and tears were shared, especially when McCombs and Mortimer saw one another for the first time since last year.
"Being able to make a difference in someone's life and having them, in turn, make a difference in yours, what better reward is that?" said Mortimer.
After what McCombs said was the hardest year, she said she was happy to spend the day celebrating her baby boy with her husband and family. She was also grateful to meet and thank the people who made it all possible.
"I'm excited to watch Coleman grow, and he's perfectly healthy, and that's all I can ask for," said McCombs.
She says Thanksgiving this week will be extra special, since last year, she was in a coma and her husband was eating Thanksgiving dinner in the cafeteria at St. Mark's Hospital. However, this year, she says it will be amazing to get to spend the holiday with her entire family.