Mom Who Gave Birth While Hospitalized with COVID-19 Gets Lung Transplant: 'One Hell of a Fighter'

"She’s a loving wife, mom, daughter, friend and so much more," Ricky Dennis said of his wife, Jackie, who is battling coronavirus

Jackie Dennis
Photo: GoFundMe

A mother from Michigan who was diagnosed with coronavirus when she was 35 weeks pregnant with her daughter is beginning to recover after undergoing a lung transplant.

Jackie Dennis has been hospitalized with coronavirus since Nov. 20, when she visited a local emergency room after experiencing symptoms of the deadly respiratory disease, her husband, Ricky, wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Jackie had been experiencing preeclampsia before her hospitalization, Ricky said. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure in someone who doesn't normally experience it, and sudden swelling in the face and hands. It is serious and can cause fatal complications, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"Things began to progress fast while in the hospital," Rick wrote on the donation page of his wife, who is a cheer coach with the Huron School District. "With the way pre-eclampsia started to affect Jackie's blood pressure they wanted to induce her at 36 weeks."

On Nov. 27, just days after being admitted to the hospital, Jackie was induced early and the couple welcomed their first child together, Mia Rose Dennis.

But Jackie's condition continued to worsen and she was eventually placed on a ventilator at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital on Dec. 5. Five days later, she was transferred to another facility and placed on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which supports patients with failing hearts and lungs by pumping oxygen throughout the body.

"Jackie has been on ECMO over 30 days now," Ricky wrote on Sunday. "The team of doctors thought it was time to make new plans to save Jackie's life. At this time Jackie had 0 percent lung function on her own."

With options running out, Jackie was approved for a double lung transplant, which she received on Saturday.

In an update posted the next day, Ricky said his wife was recovering from the successful surgery and had finally been taken off of the ECMO machine. The moment was the first time he's been able to "see a light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, the family's donation page has raised more than $95,000 to help with their medical expenses.

"She's a loving wife, mom, daughter, friend and so much more," Ricky said of Jackie. "She is loved by all. If you know Jackie then you know she is one hell of a fighter and we are looking forward to the day she comes home to her family and most of all watch Mia grow up!"

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 24,249,700 COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and there have been 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a New York Times database.

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 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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