Mom Battling COVID Impact Comes Off Life Support, Meets Baby After Giving Birth on a Ventilator

Autumn Carver was placed on an ECMO machine on Aug. 27 — the same day that she welcomed her third child, son Huxley

Autumn Carver
Autumn Carver with her newborn son, Huxley. Photo: A Healing for Autumn/Facebook

An Indiana mom's severe battle with COVID-19 prevented her from meeting her newborn — but thanks to her improving condition, she finally had the chance to hold him.

It was an emotional day on Oct. 19, when Autumn Carver, 34, reunited with her son Huxley nearly two months after his birth, according to a Facebook post from her husband Zach Carver.

"What a day. A surprise conversation with a doctor this morning brought us out of isolation and a plan for Autumn to meet Huxley," Zach wrote. "At 3 pm today, she met our son and it was an amazing moment, needless to say."

Huxley made his arrival via emergency C-section on Aug. 27, the same day Autumn's COVID-19 condition worsened and she was moved from a ventilator to an ECMO life support machine, NBC affiliate WTHR previously reported.

Though Autumn remains hospitalized, there have been slight improvements in her condition over the last two months that made seeing her boy possible, Zach said in his post.

"Her parents, one of her best friends, and many nurses and doctors witnessed the special moment. I don't know if there was a dry eye in the area," he wrote of his wife meeting Huxley. "What an amazing day. We have a long way to go, but a good day through this was much needed."

Autumn Carver
Autumn Carver. A Healing for Autumn/Facebook

Zach later elaborated on the special milestone in an interview with NBC News, telling the outlet that introducing his wife to their third child "was an answered prayer."

"We've been praying for that for nearly two months, every day, for her to get well enough that we could set this up and have this happen," Zach said. "She's fought and fought and fought for her life every single day."

"It was a very special memory that I'll never forget, handing him, for the first time, to Autumn," he continued. "We both hugged him and kissed him and looked at each other's eyes and it was a very powerful moment, for sure."

Autumn and Zach first tested positive for COVID-19 in late August after opting not to get the vaccine, WTHR reported. Autumn made the decision following a discussion with her doctor about her three previous miscarriages, the outlet reported.

However, in a recent health advisory, the Centers for Disease Control urgently warned pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because of the significant risks of hospitalization or death from the virus. Pregnancy significantly increases the likelihood of hospitalization or death if a person contracts COVID-19, the CDC said.

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When the couple got sick, Zach experienced a high fever, while Autumn — who was active and often did CrossFit workouts — suffered complications with her lungs, according to WTHR. She was eventually admitted to Community South Hospital on Aug. 25 and put on a ventilator.

Two days later, she was airlifted to Methodist Hospital to undergo the emergency C-section and go on the ECMO machine, per the outlet.

Over the last few months, Autumn has slowly been weaned off the machine, as Zach has documented on his Facebook page and the "A Healing for Autumn" Facebook group. A GoFundMe page was also set up for the Carver family to assist with medical expenses. So far, it has raised over $51,000.

Autumn was recently transferred from IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, NBC News reported. There, doctors will evaluate her lung condition and determine whether Autumn may need a lung transplant moving forward, according to a post from Zach.

"We're praying that her lungs just continue to get better, her body continues to get stronger and we can get weaned off of ECMO [machine] and she can walk out of the hospital eventually," Zach told NBC News.

On Tuesday, a Facebook update from Zach noted that Autumn was making progress after she "stood, sat in a recliner for over 3 hours, got her other chest tube out, got a new PICC line, had cannula sites cleaned and much more."

"She is doing really well and the plan is to ween her off the ECMO machine then take her off completely this Friday," he wrote. "She was not happy she had to go back on the ventilator to do so but it's the next step. She is a miracle. We are looking at a recovery with a lot of [physical therapy] in our near future. Keep the prayers coming!"

Those interested in donating to Autumn's GoFundMe page can do so here.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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