Penn. Mom Reunites with Family on Thanksgiving After Nearly 8 Months in Hospital with COVID
Marissa Fuentes had been battling COVID since April, but there was never a doubt in her mind she would make it home to her family for the holiday, she told CBS affiliate KYW-TV.
"There were days where it was a struggle to get up, but giving up was never an option," she explained. "I was determined to get home before the holidays, to be able to be with [my husband and children]."
"So it definitely feels incredible to be able to be home and spend Thanksgiving with my family," she added.
At the time of Fuentes' COVID diagnosis in April, the Chester County mom was seven months pregnant with her son Enzo, according to KYW-TV.
Fuentes was forced to undergo an emergency C-section, welcoming Enzo early at 32 weeks, before her condition worsened and she contracted severe pneumonia and went into lung failure, ABC affiliate WPVI reported.
Doctors eventually put Fuentes on an ECMO machine, where she remained for nearly six months, receiving treatment from hospitals around the area, including Paoli Hospital, Lankenau Medical Center and Kindred Hospital, per WPVI.
When Enzo was 5 months old, Fuentes finally got to meet her son, though she was still dealing with the impact of the virus on her body, according to KYW-TV.
"It was very tough," Fuentes recalled to the outlet. "I felt very weak and tired."
But Fuentes continued fighting and was eventually transferred to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, where she set her sights on reuniting with her family by Thanksgiving.
"I told Bryn Mawr Rehab that I was very determined to get home for the holidays, so they made it happen and they pushed me every day so I could get stronger and get home in time for Thanksgiving," Fuentes explained to WPVI.
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As she focused on her recovery, Fuentes' husband, Adrian, was by her side — while simultaneously balancing his parenting responsibilities.
"It's surreal for seven months and five days, it was just me and the kids here," Adrian told WPVI. "And it was such a lonely feeling every single day. It was horrible coming home every day and not having [Marissa] here."
On Wednesday, Fuentes was finally released from rehab as staffers lined the halls to cheer and applaud for her accomplishment, according to WPVI.
Though she was in a wheelchair, is still on oxygen and has a long road ahead of her, Fuentes is grateful to be alive.
"I'm not only thankful for my kids and my husband every day, but especially today to be with them," she told WPVI. "Living the best life with my kids, being home with them means the world."
"I am thankful for all the doctors and the nurses that saved my life, my incredible husband, family, my children and God for giving me this opportunity to be here still and to be able to tell my story," she said to KYW-TV.
"The fact that she made it home the day before Thanksgiving, it's nothing short of a miracle," Adrian added to the outlet.