• 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

    AK National Guard: Pilot of missing plane found, taken to hospital

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 29, 16:28

    The pilot of a plane that went missing Wednesday has been found and transported to a Soldotna hospital, according to Alaska Air National Guard officials. The pilot was located at Lake Chakachamna, west of Anchorage, less than a day after being reported missing. The Alaska Air National Guard accepted the search mission after the Alaska […]

  • Crime

    Troopers seize estimated $67K of meth from Wasilla man

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 29, 16:18

    Alaska State Troopers seized almost half a kilogram of methamphetamine from a 30-year-old Wasilla man who was stopped for a traffic violation early Thursday morning in Wasilla. Around 2 a.m., authorities arrested Johnnylee Burk for third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, four counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance and for violating his conditions of […]

  • News

    ConocoPhillips slows Greater Moose’s Tooth development

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 29, 13:26

    Permitting delays and current oil prices have ConocoPhillips slowing down on potentially investing $900 million in a project that would mark the first oil production from federal lands in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The oil company announced Thursday that it would slow the pace of investment on the Greater Moose’s Tooth, located in the northeastern part of […]

  • DayBreak

    Month-long bike fest kicks off Thursday night

    by Daybreak Staff on Jan 29, 12:26

    Winter Bike Fest 2015 kicks off Thursday night in Anchorage. It is hosted by Bike Anchorage, which is calling on cyclists of all stripes to get involved. Thursday morning on Daybreak, Steve Cleary with Bike Anchorage joined James and Megan on the couch discuss what the festival is all about and why it is important […]

  • News

    Mental health system failing Valley youth, foundation says

    by Kate McPherson on Jan 29, 11:55

    The Mat-Su Health Foundation says youth in the Mat-Su Valley are resorting to self-harm because of a lack of mental health services. “The data was so shocking, our consultant group on this work was the McDowell Group, that we actually held a special meeting with our emergency department folks to make sure there wasn’t some […]

  • News

    Former Wasilla mayor appointed to fisheries commission

    by Associated Press on Jan 29, 11:24

    A former Wasilla mayor will help regulate participation in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker, said Verne Rupright was appointed to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission Jan. 20. The three-member body decides who can participate in limited entry fisheries and adjudicates appeals. Jang wrote in an email that Rupright was […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski takes first stab at Obama’s ANWR proposal

    by Hope Miller on Jan 29, 11:10

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski made her first countermove to the Obama administration’s controversial Arctic conservation proposal Wednesday. The U.S. Senate shot down her amendment that would have put time limits on when Congress must designate wilderness study areas. It received 50 “yes” votes and needed 60 to pass — a three-fifths majority. The Keystone pipeline bill […]

  • Politics

    Lawmakers prepare to take on President Obama

    by Rhonda McBride on Jan 29, 10:09

    State lawmakers are gearing up for a fight against the president of the United States. Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow introduced House Joint Resolution 10 to formally protest the Obama administration’s actions this week to put the brakes on Arctic development. On Sunday, the president proposed designating an additional 12 million acres in the Arctic […]