• 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

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

  • DayBreak

    Daybreak Adopt-A-Pets for Oct. 9, 2015

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 13:49

    There are plenty of furry faces hoping to find a loving home. Those looking on the lookout for one are in luck. In this weeks Adopt-A-Pet, the Anchorage Animal Care and Control has three four legged friends ready to be adopted. Doe’jo: Looking for a warm lap to curl up in Friendly and affectionate Lovely […]

  • News

    More, smaller icebergs could show up in Alaska tanker lanes

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 12:18

    Alaska’s Prince William Sound will see more, but smaller icebergs in the next decade. That’s according to a report by a marine safety organization that monitors tankers carrying oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline. The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council says icebergs from Columbia Glacier are smaller because they have to travel farther before […]

  • DayBreak

    Van Gogh comes to life at the Anchorage Museum

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 11:32

    A new exhibit at the Anchorage Museum brings the work of famed painter Vincent Van Gogh to life. “Van Gogh Alive – The Experience” runs from Friday, October 9, 2015 to January 10, 2016. Using state-of-the-art multimedia technology, and set to an “evocative classical score,” Van Gogh’s paintings are projected onto massive screens throughout the […]

  • News

    Alaska Permanent Fund Corp names new CEO

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 11:07

    Angela Rodell has been selected to be the new CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. The corporation’s board voted unanimously Friday to offer Rodell the job. The corporation says the selection is contingent upon the successful negotiation of a salary and benefits package. Rodell served as a Revenue commissioner under Gov. Sean Parnell and […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Vicious Mammals

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 09, 10:10

    “Junkyard” Jesse Jack, Dick Nitrous, CJ Elliott and Dale Payne make up the rock band Vicious Mammals. Hailing from Wasilla, the band has earned comparisons to groups like AC/DC and the New York Dolls. In July they released their debut album, “Switchblade Ballerina.” When asked how the band came up with their name, Jack says […]

  • Crime

    One person hospitalized following early morning shooting in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 09, 9:02

    Anchorage police are investigating an early morning shooting near Dimond Blvd. and Arctic Blvd. that left one person hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Dispatchers received word of a disturbance at a business near W. 64th St. and C St. just before 3 a.m. Friday morning, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Officers were […]

  • Sports

    ABL adjusts as Alaska Goldpanners exit league

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 09, 7:52

    The show must go on. And it will. In this case, that show is the Alaska Baseball League, which will enter its 42nd summer season in 2016.  But it will enter those warm nights shorthanded. Last month, the Alaska Goldpanners decided to leave the league to play other independent baseball teams from across the country. The move was […]

  • News

    Alaska Marine Highway System cuts ferry terminal positions

    by Associated Press on Oct 09, 6:46

    The Alaska Marine Highway System has cut 20 shore positions as officials deal with a scaled back budget. The Ketchikan Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1hu1Llv ) that in the past week, 14 people have been laid off in the ferry system, and other vacant positions were also cut. Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says […]