• 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

  • Neighbors, close family friends react to Utah man accused of murdering wife on cruise

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 27, 22:30

    A Utah man is now facing a federal murder charge — accused of killing his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, on a cruise ship traveling in Alaska.  Kenneth Ray Manzanares, of Santa Clara, Utah, made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday. According to a criminal complaint, on July 25, Emerald Princess Security and Medical personnel responded […]

  • Politics

    Senate GOP’s “skinny repeal” bill dies in middle-of-the-night vote

    by CBS News on Jul 27, 22:13

    Senate Republicans’ attempt to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act died early Friday morning, with three GOP senators — Sen. John McCain, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski — voting against the proposal. “So … this is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said right after the bill failed. […]

  • Politics

    Larry Persily on political drama in Washington DC

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 22:04

    Both Senators: John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, are in the center of the political drama playing out in Washington DC, with plot lines that could be straight out of a movie. Larry Persily was the federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation projects and has worked for three governors and advised many state legislators, including […]

  • Former pro golfers come to Alaska to help future players

    by Dave Leval on Jul 27, 20:15

    Katelin Richards gets a different challenge every time she steps on the golf course. “Right now, my short game, my chipping and putting has been off,” said the 15-year-old player. Richards and other junior golfers ventured onto the Anchorage Golf Course to improve their game. They also received some first rate help. Janet Anderson won […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Sen. McCain calls for bipartisanship, but is Washington listening?

    by John Tracy on Jul 27, 19:42

    There must be something about facing your own mortality, that provides a bit of clarity on the value of your life’s work.  I think that’s what we were seeing on Tuesday when Senator John McCain cast the deciding vote on advancing his party’s healthcare bill and then proceeded to take his colleagues to the woodshed […]

  • News

    APD bike patrols covering Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 27, 19:18

    The Anchorage Police Department is covering some new territory this summer and they’re doing it on two wheels. Officers on bikes are patrolling more areas than ever before. APD’s bike patrols are made up of teams of school resource officers. They work in the schools in the winter and hit the trails during the summer. […]

  • Man with hatchet charged with attempted murder on officer

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 18:52

    An Anchorage man was charged with attempting to kill a police officer with a hatchet. Police say on May 25, around 4:28 a.m., they responded to a report of someone breaking into cars near Morningside Loop, between Old and New Seward Highways. When police arrived, they say they tried to make contact with the suspect, 32-year-old Howard […]

  • Politics

    Two House Democrats call for investigation into calls made to Alaska’s senators

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 18:24

    Two House Democrats are calling for a formal investigation after they say the Interior Secretary threatened Alaska’s senators over healthcare. Thursday afternoon, Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sent letters to the Department of the Interior Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. They want […]