• 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

  • Sports

    South defeats West in state championship rematch

    by KTVA Sports on Nov 20, 22:43

    Last year, it was the South Wolverines who hoisting the trophy after a 4-1 victory over West High School. On Thursday night there was no trophy to raise, but the Wolverines continued their dominance against the Eagles, coming away with an impressive 3-0 victory. Senior captain Bryson Schmitz led South with two goals, while sophomore […]

  • On-Air

    Get Out: Evolve Yoga

    by Brett Shepard on Nov 20, 22:33

    Are you looking for a new way to stay in tip-top shape for all your outdoor adventures? If so, then this week’s Get Out is just for you. I recently went on a physical, mental and spiritual journey and found yoga. “We spend a lot more time sitting than we ever have in our entire […]

  • News

    Suspect in East Anchorage standoff formally charged in court

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 20, 22:02

    The man who shut down an Anchorage neighborhood in a standoff with police Wednesday night appeared in court Thursday. Marlon Arellano, 44, is charged with two counts of third-degree assault and one count of attempted burglary. The charges are class C felonies. The victim’s mother spoke to the court by phone. She told the judge Arellano chased […]

  • News

    Anchorage school superintendent wants to save surplus

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 20, 21:41

    Anchorage School District Superintendent Ed Graff spoke out on the district’s surprise budget surplus Thursday. Graff said he’d like to put the majority of the $22 million surplus toward a budget deficit projected for 2015-16. The district currently isn’t spending as much as projected, which created the surplus. Graff said the district could also decide to […]

  • News

    Walker vows to push pipeline project forward

    by Lauren Maxwell on Nov 20, 20:22

    Gov.-elect Bill Walker made one of his first public appearances Thursday morning since winning the election, speaking at an annual conference put on by the Alaska Resource Development Council. Walker may not have won many votes from the crowd during the gubernatorial race because of his opposition to SB21, a bill that lowered oil taxes, […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 20

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 20, 20:03

      Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound - Skies will be cloudy with a chance of showers to the south and eastern areas. Southeast - Expect rain showers up and down the panhandle. Interior and North Slope – These regions will have partly cloudy skies and be a few degrees colder. The slope will be mostly clear with […]

  • News

    Trial underway for man charged in 2012 Anchorage murder

    by Dave Leval on Nov 20, 19:51

    Friends of Kristen Reid believe the 30-year-old woman wanted to end her relationship with Bukurim Miftari the night she ran into him at an Anchorage strip club more than two years ago. “They didn’t really get along that well,” said Reid’s friend, Caren Bennett. Thursday, she fought back tears as she talked about the last […]

  • News

    Federal court rejects Alaska’s appeal

    by Associated Press on Nov 20, 17:49

    The state of Alaska has lost another attempt to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage, and Gov.-elect Bill Walker has changed his stance on the issue. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports the federal appeals court for the West rejected the state’s request that an 11-judge panel review the district court decision that found the state’s […]