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A Christmas Miracle

Mother, Newborn Miraculously Survive COVID-19, Emergency C-Section

By Joel Washburn
washburn@mckenziebanner.com
Posted 2/11/21

McKENZIE — “I did not realize how bad I was. They were moving extremely fast and said I might not make it to the Jackson Hospital.” That’s what Christy Lowe-Sweatt remembers of her near-death experience with COVID-19 while eight months pregnant with her first child, Hannah. If not for the outreach and love of the medical community and the love of God, Christy would not be telling her story of a miracle birth and her own unlikely survival.

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A Christmas Miracle

Mother, Newborn Miraculously Survive COVID-19, Emergency C-Section

Posted

McKENZIE — “I did not realize how bad I was. They were moving extremely fast and said I might not make it to the Jackson Hospital.” That’s what Christy Lowe-Sweatt remembers of her near-death experience with COVID-19 while eight months pregnant with her first child, Hannah. If not for the outreach and love of the medical community and the love of God, Christy would not be telling her story of a miracle birth and her own unlikely survival.

Christy Lowe-Sweatt, husband, Mathew and step-son Peyton reside in the Weakley County area of McKenzie. She works at McKenzie Medical Center (MMC) and he at Pepsi Mid-America in Paris.

Mathew had already had a “mild” case of COVID.

On December 7, 2020, Christy was not feeling well and decided to get tested for COVID-19; the test result was negative. On Wednesday, December 9, she started feeling worse and went to Keliea Winstead, a physician assistant at MMC; she tested positive. Since there is no cure for COVID, Keliea prescribed a Z-Pak to deal with the symptoms.

It was on Sunday, December 13 that she had become very dehydrated. Dr. Pam Evans, her OB doctor, recommended she be admitted to the hospital. She was admitted and returned home on December 15.

Deteriorating medical conditions led to a call to Keliea Winstead, who rushed to Christy’s home along with Darrell Jones, a respiratory therapist, who brought portable oxygen to start oxygen therapy.

She credits the two for being instrumental in saving her life.

They called 911 and contacted Dr. Terry Colotta, who ordered a Bi-Pap. The ambulance service arrived and did not have a Bi-Pap, but substituted a C-Pap instead.

In less than 24 hours, Christy was making a trip back to Jackson in an ambulance.

Her oxygen levels were around 64 percent and medical personnel were concerned for her and the baby’s survival.

Christy recalls the ambulance team talking about possibly stopping midway at Milan Hospital if conditions deteriorated.

“They were afraid I would not make it,” said the 34-year-old Lowe-Sweatt.

When she arrived at the emergency room at Jackson-Madison County Hospital, a Bi-Pap was immediately administered.

Christy’s oxygen-saturation was deteriorating and affecting the baby’s oxygen level, but she could not be intubated and put on a ventilator, because of the baby.

An emergency C-Section was ordered to save the baby, after which Christy was intubated and placed on a ventilator.

Less than one-and-a-half hours after arriving at the hospital on December 16, Hannah Bess Sweatt was born. She weighed six pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 inches long. She was born at 33.5 weeks into a 40-week, full-term pregnancy.

Hannah was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where she stayed for 14 days.

Hannah never tested positive for COVID.

Christy remained in the Critical Care Unit, intubated, unable to communicate and immobilized.

Medical personnel, attending to Hannah, were advised that Christy might not survive and to be prepared to teach Mathew how to care for a newborn.

Mathew held their baby girl for the first time on December 19.

Unable to visit Christy, Mathew believed she would want him to keep going. So he would work a full shift, then drive to Jackson to spend time with Hannah, then return home and do it all over again the next day.

God’s grace, lots of prayers, and great medical professionals, Christy said are the reasons she survived.

On December 20, she could finally communicate with the medical staff through writing notes.

Against all odds, she improved, was removed from the ventilator on December 21.

Christy was moved from the CCU to the COVID Ward on December 22 and was discharged on December 24, Christmas Eve.

“Everyone was talking about how I was a miracle,” said Christy of the medical personnel and staff.

But Christy’s saga did not end there.

While Christy was discharged, little Hannah remained in the hospital and Christy was not allowed to visit because of her COVID diagnosis.

“Mathew and I would drive to the hospital, he would go visit Hannah, and I sat in the car in the hospital’s parking lot.”

During the visit, Mathew would communicate with Christy with a video app on his phone so she could virtually visit with her baby.

During a normal delivery, mother and baby bond within hours of the birth, with a first feeding and skin-to-skin contact.

“I did not get to experience any of the things of birth,” said Christy.

“I only know what Mathew has told me.” She added that Mathew has been amazing and so supportive.

Mom and baby were united on December 29, the day before baby Hannah was allowed to come home.

“We had an amazing day of many firsts. First bottle, first diaper change, first bath, skin to skin snuggles,” Christy posted on Facebook with photos of her smiling from ear-to-ear holding baby Hannah.

“I’m so in love. I am feeling great and Hannah is just perfect. Working on getting home very soon. Thanks for all the prayers. We are blessed beyond measure.”

Hannah is now 9 pounds and 6 ounces, has chubby cheeks and growing so much, said Christy.

She recently celebrated her due date and six-week-old milestone on January 30.

Little did they know, God had more blessings planned for the Lowe family.

It was July 2, 2020 and Christy had a secret. She was going to announce to the family that she and Mathew were pregnant with an expected delivery date in January 2021.

On that same day, her brother, Michael and wife, Emily also had a secret. They were announcing to the family that they were having a baby in December 2020. Hope-Katherine Michel Lowe was born on December 26 at Jackson-Madison County Hospital. Cousins Hannah and Hope-Katherine were both in the same hospital.

Twenty-four years earlier, on December 16, 1996, Christy’s dad had a heart transplant. It was 24 years to the day that Hannah was born, said Christy. We were praying for a miracle both times.

Willie Lowe was discharged after the transplant on December 26, 1996, 24 years to the day before Hope-Katherine was born.

The miracles in the family are not limited to surviving COVID, miracle births, and heart transplants.

Willie Lowe, Christy’s dad, a former police officer with the McKenzie Police Department, survived an attempted gun assault. A drive-by motorist riddled his patrol SUV with bullets, striking and injuring his K-9 officer, but missing Officer Lowe. The K-9 was retired due to the injuries.

Christy said her family, especially her mom, Sheila, and dad have been wonderful. Willie is really enjoying being a granddad again, said Christy.

Christy has two brothers, Nick, the student resource police officer at McKenzie Schools and Michael, a Gleason police officer.

In closing, Christy said, she is extremely grateful to Keliea and Darrell for coming to her house on December 16; the amazing doctors and nurses; the NICU nurses that took care of Hannah when Christy couldn’t be there; and for all the prayers for her and Hannah.

She and Hannah Bess are Christmas miracles and a testament of the family’s faith in God and the power of prayer.

“God chose us to save us. God is amazing.”

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