• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 41s

Baby born in Anchorage after mother slips into coma

By Kate McPherson, Hope Miller 5:01 PM July 10, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A baby named Faith has given people a reason to believe in miracles.

Faith was born Tuesday at 35 weeks. Her mother, Jessie Ayagalria of Bethel, has been in a coma for most of the pregnancy.

“I was brought in after [Faith] was delivered and it was an amazing feeling to hold her,” said Shirley Jerry, Ayagalria’s mother. She counted her granddaughter’s fingers. She counted her toes.

“It was a miracle,” Jerry said.

A miracle with heartache. At the end of January, Ayagalria had a seizure and suffered cardiac arrest. She was hospitalized in Bethel and was eventually transferred to Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in Anchorage, said Catherine Greydanus, Ayagalria’s cousin. While at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, it was discovered that Ayagalria was 12 weeks pregnant.

Meanwhile, keeping Ayagalria alive proved to be a struggle. Testing at ANMC revealed Ayagalria’s brain was swollen. Her comatose state could not be reversed. Upon receiving the dismal news, the family decided to take Ayagalria off life support, Greydanus said.

But not all hope was lost. While Ayagalria was in hospice care, neurologist Dr. Brian Trimble said it was possible to carry the baby. Some doctors disagreed, but the family said they still wanted to try and requested she be put on a feeding tube, IV and oxygen. They wanted to try to save the baby, but didn’t want Ayagalria to suffer, so they asked for a do not resuscitate order. The hospital’s ethics committee approved the request.

“I thought I was losing a baby and a daughter till I found out that she was able to carry the baby,” said Jerry, holding Greydanus’ hand for support. “I wanted to try at least.”

Ayagalria was able to carry Faith to 35 weeks, mostly on her own. Faith was delivered via C-section and needed some help breathing on her own when she was first born. Thursday, she was doing fine and waking up every three hours by herself.

“Just amazing that we were able to go on this complicated journey, that we weren’t sure what the outcome was going to be and to actually be able to see her there and be able to hold her and know that she is healthy and growing stronger every day is a blessing,” Greydanus said.

Ayagalria is back in hospice care. She is still in a vegetative state. The family will let her pass on and will raise Faith in Bethel.

The family feels mixed emotions. Losing Ayagalria is devastating, but Faith’s birth was a blessing.

“It’s like going through a roller coaster,” Greydanus said. “You have to deal what’s going on with Jessie, but then you see Faith and can’t help but smile that something positive has come about this.”

A donation page has been set up to raise money for the airfare home and necessities for the baby.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story erroneously said Jessie Ayagalria was brain dead. Although she was in a vegetative state and had little brain activity, she was not entirely brain dead, said Dr. Brian Trimble with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The story has been revised.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Diners charged months after eating at Anchorage restaurant

    by Bonney Bowman on Feb 08, 22:41

      ANCHORAGE — If you ate at a popular Anchorage restaurant recently, you might want to check your bank account. People who ate at Benihana in Anchorage toward the end of 2015 might finally be charged for their meal this week. Tanny Walker told KTVA she ate at the restaurant in November and the payment […]

  • News

    ‘Schools on the Edge’ Part One: Twin Hills

    by Daniella Rivera on Feb 08, 22:32

      ANCHORAGE — The State of Alaska is in a budget crisis, and one lawmaker says education is not off limits. Rep. Lynn Gattis said she wants to change how the state funds rural schools. Right now, a village needs a minimum of 10 students to get state funding. Gattis said she wants to see that number […]

  • News

    Lake Hood pilot: Air traffic control stretched too thin

    by Eric Ruble on Feb 08, 22:24

      ANCHORAGE — Arctic Flyers is one of the many small businesses that dot the shoreline of Lake Hood. The company’s owner, Rick Ruess, says recent flights into and out of the lake have made him nervous. For the last year, he says there is often one air traffic controller managing both Lake Hood and Ted […]

  • Lifestyle

    Tribal and non-tribal voices discuss VAWA across jurisdictions

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK on Feb 08, 21:54

    This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission.  BETHEL — The first day of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, training began Monday in Bethel. The three-day session marks the first VAWA training in the state since Alaska’s Attorney General, Craig Richards, issued an opinion last summer that law enforcement must uphold […]

  • News

    Changing a neighborhood through community art

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 08, 21:21

      ANCHORAGE — Two Anchorage artists want to make Mountain View a more peaceful neighborhood. Aurora Sidney-Ando and Christina Determo started the Whale Song Peace Project. They’re creating a large sculpture for the neighborhood they hope will get people talking about ways to make positive changes. “It’s a call to action and to teach people […]

  • News

    15 year old killed in Wasilla collision

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 08, 20:19

    A 15 year old has died after being struck by a vehicle while he was out walking. The teen, identified as Austin Edenfield, was walking on the shoulder of Pittman Road Monday afternoon when a southbound vehicle struck him, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers were notified of the collision just after 3 p.m. and […]

  • News

    FAA says there are now more registered drone operators than licensed pilots

    by Associated Press on Feb 08, 20:01

    The Federal Aviation Administration says there are now more registered drone operators in the U.S. than there are licensed pilots. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a legal forum on Monday that the agency passed the milestone last week when it topped 325,000 registered drone owners. There are 320,000 licensed pilots of manned aircraft. Huerta said […]

  • News

    MSBSD aggressively recruiting new teachers and staff

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 08, 19:50

      ANCHORAGE — The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is aggressively recruiting new teachers and staff. District wide enrollment went up by nearly 800 new students just this year. That means more education jobs. The problem is finding qualified applicants to fill them, according to district officials. About 160 people were hired this school year. The district needs to […]