MCKINNEY, Texas — Someday baby Josie will be old enough to know her birth story; one that is beautifully unique and traumatic at the same time.
Joseph and Ariel Romero have been married 11 years and were so excited to have their second child.
"I'm not gonna [sic] just lose one person if things go wrong, I'm gonna lose two," said Joseph Romero.
Four months into the pregnancy, in July, Joseph and Ariel both got COVID.
Joseph's symptoms were mild, but Ariel's were not. She struggled with breathing, and even the smallest bit of activity wiped her out.
"Our restroom is not far from our bed, just getting there was as if I climbed a mountain," said Ariel.
Ariel was rushed to Medical City McKinney, where Dr. Dara Otu and the staff took care of her. They were treating COVID while carefully monitoring the baby.
"She was unique in that she was fighting for two lives," Otu said. “Ariel was our first pregnant mom that needed to be intubated due to COVID-19," she said.
Ariel was immobile, her lungs were failing, she was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma, all while being four months pregnant.
It really hit Joseph hard having a son at home and only being able to see his wife sparingly.
"I was there every single day... every single day," Joseph said tearfully.
He cherished the one hour he got every day, even if it was through a glass.
"They were telling me everyday she's going to get out of here, she's gonna come home. And then my life just flipped," he said.
Ariel was in the ICU for 62 days in the fight of her life. When she finally kicked COVID, she was able to see her 11-year-old son, which was a very emotional moment.
Then, there was the painful rehab. Ariel had to re-learn to walk and move.
She was able to return home seven months into her pregnancy.
"She's made a miraculous recovery. That's all I can say. Her recovery is a true miracle," said Otu.
The Romeros told WFAA they were not vaccinated at the time they contracted the virus. They said they are not anti-vaccine, but were ambivalent about receiving the vaccine.
Otu reinforced the need to be vaccinated to mitigate symptoms that could result in major complications.
The Romeros had become family to the hospital staff and they threw her a baby shower. More than two months later, baby Josie arrived Christmas Day.
"You might not have a plan for yourself, but God has a plan," Ariel said.
Mom and baby are healthy. Ariel still cannot exert much and still struggles to walk and has nerve damage in her hands.
We hear often about miracle babies, Ariel is a miracle mother too.