Mother hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms dies weeks after delivering premature baby

Doctors delivered the baby early in an attempt to save both of their lives.

A pregnant Twin Cities woman who was hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms in June has died weeks after a successful, premature birth. 

Aurora Chacon Esparza, 35, of Brooklyn Center, was seven months pregnant when she began feeling ill, according to a GoFundMe campaign for her family.

Her husband, Juan Duran Gutierrez, wrote that she had initially tested negative for COVID-19, but her symptoms continued, with her doctor telling her that sometimes the tests produce false negatives.

Her symptoms then worsened, leading to her bein admitted to North Memorial Health Hospital on Sunday, June 14. She was sedated and placed on a ventilator June 19. 

Four days later her oxygen dropped dangerously low and doctors decided to deliver the baby at just 30 weeks gestation to save the baby and mother. The delivery was successful and their daughter, named Andrea, is "doing very well," Gutierrez said. 

He said his wife was slowly showing signs of improvement until she "took a turn for the worst" on July 7. 

"At this time the ventilator is giving her oxygen at 100%," he recalled in the GoFundMe announcement. "They have given her some treatments but the doctor says that apart from that- they can’t do anything else."

She died early on Sunday morning.

"My wife Aurora now rests in peace with God. She passed away today in the early morning of Sunday July 19th 2020," her husband wrote. "I have faith in God that she is with him and has moved on to better life. 

"We will forever miss her and remember her for the strong, loving and caring person she was. I appreciate all of your prayers and well wishes since day one. Also, your donations will definitely help lessen the burden on my family with the expected funeral expenses."

If you'd like to donate to her family, click here. The fundraiser has so far raised just shy of $22,000. 

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COVID and pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists a number of underlying health conditions that can lead to more severe illness from COVID-19. Being pregnant has so far drawn mixed evidence of being an underlying condition leading to worse symptoms of COVID-19, the report from the CDC said. 

But a recent study by by the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that, despite reporting inefficiencies, there is evidence to support the suggestion that "pregnant women with COVID-19 were five times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and four times more likely to receive mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women."

"The risk for death was the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women," the study also found

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