• 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

  • Bloomberg to world leaders: Ignore Trump on climate

    by Associated Press on Apr 23, 17:36

    NEW YORK (AP) – New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he wants to help save an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions. The former New York City mayor addressed his intensifying focus on climate change an interview with The Associated Press. Last week, he released a new book, “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and […]

  • Sports

    BLM seeks public input on proposed Red Devil Mine cleanup

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 17:17

    The Red Devil Mine is located on the Kuskokwim near the Red Devil Creek between Crooked Creek and Sleetmute. It started mining in the ’30s, picked up steam in the ’50s and ’60s but has not operated since the 1970s. The problem is that there’s mercury, arsenic and antimony in the soils left behind by […]

  • Students sue Trump administration over climate change

    by CBS News on Apr 23, 17:07

    EUGENE, Ore. — Avery McRae has been passionate about the environment for half a lifetime, and she’s been worried about climate change since kindergarten. Now, at 11, she is really getting serious. She recently signed on to sue President Trump and the U.S. government. “Trump is not doing anything to help stop climate change,” she […]

  • News

    Water streaming across Antarctica surprises, worries scientists

    by CBS News on Apr 23, 16:45

    In a unique study spanning the entire continent, scientists have found that water is gushing across Antarctica — more than they ever realized. The researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found significant drainage of meltwater flowing across the continent’s ice sheets during summer in Antarctica. Until now, these streams of water were mainly […]

  • APD makes 1 arrest in Carrs-Safeway shooting

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 15:46

    Anchorage Police say they have at least one of the persons responsible for a shooting inside a grocery store over the weekend in custody. Anchorage Police Lieutenant John McKinnon says 18-year-old Devon Maurice Brown has been arrested in connection to the trashing of the Carrs-Safeway on Northern Lights Boulevard, as well as the shooting of one […]

  • News

    Fire damages Sand Lake duplex

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 14:55

    Crews were dispatched to a house fire early Sunday afternoon in Sand Lake. Just after noon, 13 Anchorage Fire units were called to a duplex in the 7800 block of Fenn Street. Homeowner told me everyone got out of the building OK. She does not know what caused the fire. @ktva pic.twitter.com/9SfbGD1aCA — Eric Ruble […]

  • Girl, 4, missing from Palmer area for a month

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 23, 14:45

    Alaska State Troopers are asking for the public’s help in locating a 4-year-old girl who’s believed to have been taken by her father. Troopers in Palmer says 4-year-old Charlie hasn’t been seen since March 21, and the girl was with her father, 57-year-old Raymond Martin, of Wasilla. Authorities say Martin failed to relinquish custody of […]

  • News

    North Korea detains third U.S. citizen

    by CBS News/Associated Press on Apr 23, 12:55

    PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea has detained a U.S. citizen, officials said Sunday, bringing the number of Americans being held there to three. Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained on Saturday, according to Park Chan-mo, the chancellor of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Park said […]