The Canadian Press
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The aunt of a B.C. infant born while his mother was in a coma due to COVID-19 complications says the family is trying to stay hopeful but keep their expectations reasonable as she remains unconscious a month later.
Gillian McIntosh, 37, was given an emergency C-section after arriving at a hospital in Abbotsford, B.C., with COVID-19 symptoms. She was placed in an induced coma and on a ventilator due to complications from the virus.
"The medical staff have been very clear that the road ahead is a long one," Andrea Hildebrandt says in a statement on behalf of the family.
"We appreciate their clarity, it helps us to keep our thoughts positive but realistic."
McIntosh started feeling sick in the first week of November. When her symptoms worsened, she went to the hospital, leaving her husband, Dave McIntosh, to look after their daughter.
The last communication Dave McIntosh had with his wife came in the form of a text saying she was being taken in for an emergency C-section due to complications from the novel coronavirus, he told The Canadian Press in an earlier interview.
Hildebrandt says in the new statement that the family speaks to Gillian regularly via video conference although she is unconscious.
"Dave continues to hold Zoom calls at Gillian's bedside in hopes that his voice will provide her with reassurance and comfort. This is an emotionally difficult thing for a spouse to have to do but I'm proud of him for doing it," Hildebrandt says of her brother.
Baby McIntosh is doing "just great," she says. He has gained a full pound since leaving the hospital and the midwife and pediatric doctor have both described him as strong and healthy, Hildebrandt says.
"He brings an element of joy in a challenging time."
The most frequently asked question the family receives is whether the baby has a name. He does, but his father hopes to save that for Gillian to hear before everyone else knows. She doesn't yet know the baby is a boy, Hildebrandt says.
Hildebrandt says the family remains grateful for the outpouring of donations, kind messages and support from the community.
She also urges British Columbians to "keep up the hard work" of following health protocols.
"The support and care directed towards and shared within our families during this time of crisis continues to be a beautiful gift."